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Fitbit updates software to improve exercise tracking

Steve Rogerson
December 2, 2015
Connected health and fitness company Fitbit has added features to its platform globally that make exercise tracking smarter and easier than ever.
The California-based company has introduced SmartTrack automatic exercise recognition and enhancements to PurePulse heart rate tracking on Fitbit Charge HR and Fitbit Surge, claimed to be the top selling fitness tracker and wearable, and GPS watch in the USA, respectively.
The company has also launched exercise goals within the free Fitbit app to help users find the routine that is right for them, and serve as daily motivation to hit their personalised goals.
“At Fitbit we’re always working on innovative features that are easy to use and make tracking health and fitness a fun, motivational experience,” said Tim Roberts, VP of interactive at Fitbit. “Our users find exercise in all parts of their day, including activities like short walks with the dog or a bike commute to work. These new features allow them to focus on their exercise, giving them credit for their most active moments and letting the technology do the work to automatically track progress towards their fitness goals.”
SmartTrack provides what is said to be a smarter, easier way to track workouts and see how efforts accumulate to reaching fitness goals. It automatically recognises select exercises and records them in the Fitbit app, giving users credit for their most active moments, so they are more informed to be able to reach their goals.
SmartTrack automatically recognises continuous movement when wearing Charge HR or Surge. It identifies the type of activity and records it in the app along with an exercise summary, including duration, calories burned and heart rate stats. It can identify a wide variety of activities, including elliptical, outdoor biking, running, walking, and general categories of aerobic workouts such as Zumba, cardio-kickboxing and other dance classes, and sports such as tennis, basketball and football.
Because everyone’s definition of exercise is different, users can select the types of activities they want recognised as exercise and adjust how long they must be moving before an activity is recorded in the app. By default, activities are automatically recognised when users have been active for at least 15 minutes.
The PurePulse heart rate technology has been updated to provide users with a better heart rate tracking experience during and after high-intensity workouts such as boot camp and Zumba. The update is activated when using exercise mode on Charge HR and multi-sport modes on Surge. PurePulse optical technology provides users with continuous, automatic wrist-based heart rate tracking including resting heart rate and heart rate trends over time, without the need for an uncomfortable chest strap.
The American Heart Association and US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend an average of 30 minutes of exercise each day, five days per week to improve health. While most people are aware of the benefits of being more active and exercising more, these activities can be time consuming and difficult to achieve.
Available for free to all Fitbit device and app users, exercise goals are tracked on a daily basis with a weekly goal set for the number of days they plan to exercise. Exercise goals encourage people to embrace a more consistent workout routine to achieve their fitness goals. They can be personalised by choosing the number of target exercise days per week and the types of activities that will count towards their goals. Progress towards goals is displayed within the app.
To receive credit towards an exercise goal, device users can on Charge HR and Surge use SmartTrack or track an activity using exercise mode, multi-sport modes or MobileRun, or log an exercise in the app. In Charge, they can track an activity using exercise mode or MobileRun, or log an exercise in the app. Fitbit Flex, One and Zip let users track an activity using MobileRun or log an exercise in the app.
The SmartTrack and PurePulse software updates are free and available globally to all Charge HR and Surge users. Exercise goals are also available globally to all users of the free Fitbit app for iOS and Windows, with Android coming soon. These features will also be available on the new Charge HR and Surge trackers.