How Fitbit saved my sleep, got my kid walking 10,000+ steps daily and gave my husband FOMO

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FitbitFam2 (Photos: Amazon)
These three Fitbits got my family on-track for good health. (Photos: Amazon)

Our offbeat little trio has become a FitBit family. And we're so much better for it!

I take back everything I've thought about fitness trackers. I assumed they were reserved for overly obsessed exercise nuts. Nothing wrong with being one of those, but I did not want that kind of pressure from a judgy watch. Then I had a change of heart. Literally.

A health concern rocked me and made me want to keep tabs my heart rate. Also, I'd been waking up so much in the night, I feared I was missing out on "deep sleep" altogether. I asked a group of folks with similar issues about their fitness trackers. They overwhelmingly recommended FitBit over the pricier Apple and Garmin models. Specifically, they directed me to the Fitbit Inspire 2.

$99 at Amazon

Around the same time, my 7-year-old was asking for a watch. She loved her friend's fitness tracker, excited by the cute animations activated when fitness goals are met. Disco balls! Fireworks! Hmm... I thought, her bus route is canceled. Andshe will need motivation for those mile-long treks to and from school.

So I snapped up an Inspire 2 and invited my daughter to pick out her fave Fitbit Ace 2 (a No. 1 bestseller on Amazon). She chose the purple one, of course.

When our watches arrived the next day (speedy delivery is a perk of being an Amazon Prime member), we were stoked. Setup was easy and fun. The more we high-fived over accomplishments (like racking up lots of steps), the more envious my husband became. He was experiencing full-on FOMO! We began taunting him mercilessly with our cool stats and Fitbit lingo. It was awesome.

My husband and I were about to celebrate our 15th wedding anniversary — and I learned somewhere that the "modern" gift for that milestone is a watch. It seemed like a sign. I picked out the Fitbit smartwatch model best suited to tech-savvy people: the Versa 2. It miraculously arrived the same day! (Kudos, Prime!) He was over the moon.

Now we are all moving more and sleeping better. Sure there are other ways to motivate toward health goals, but for our family, the Fitbit has been a game-changer. We love that these babies are swim proof, too, considering all the hand washing we're doing these days — and the fact that our daughter is part-mermaid. And we can even send each other challenges, to keep things interesting. Truly, fun for the whole family.

More about my Fitbit Inspire 2

The Fitbit Inspire 2 keeps tabs on your health. (Photo: Amazon)
The Fitbit Inspire 2 keeps tabs on your health. (Photo: Amazon)

My slim Fitbit Inspire 2 looks and feels great. I am obsessed with the sleep tracker! It gently reminds me to start thinking about sleep at 10 p.m. (yeah, right). In the morning, it tells me quality of my slumber — how much time I've spent in light, deep and REM sleep and provides a very helpful "Sleep Score." This has led me to improve my sleep hygiene, making me a happier human.

The Inspire 2 also opened my eyes to how little I was moving on heavy workdays. The nudge was needed. I haven't yet explored the 20 fitness modes, and I know I won't use the calorie counter or water consumption features. But I do love seeing how many miles I've walked. It especially delights me when a celebration pops up as I'm carrying a bowl of ice cream to the couch.

This is all more than I could ever need, but if you're a real fitness buff (or wish to be), you'll be excited by the free yearlong Premium trial, which unlocks so many more features — loads of workouts and detailed personalized sleep and nutrition plans. If the user fails to cancel Premium service after a year, the app will begin charging $10 a month.

Another cool feature: It receives text and call notifications. With the screen being so narrow, it can be tough to read the display, but controls can be accessed on the app. Another win: The watch only needs to be charged once every 10 days.

I checked the reviews before purchasing and was impressed by the 27,000-plus five-star ratings and happy reviews.

"It's functioning flawlessly," said one fan. "It was a great price, is very easy to use, and really is a good little motivator. I love the gentle alarms, the relax exercises, and the little reminders to drink water and exercise. The sleep tracking is really fascinating and a personal goal of mine to work on, this is a major help to me in that regard. I love that it is swim-safe as well, since I'm big on swimming.... It is a small piece of plastic that I find quite incredible at what it is capable of doing for being so tiny, and am amazed at all of the extras in this!"

$99 at Amazon

The Fitbit Ace 2 that my daughter totally loves

Two versions of the kid-size Fitbit Ace 2 (Grape and Watermelon) are on sale for $40 on Amazon. (Photo: Amazon)
Two versions of the kid-size Fitbit Ace 2 (Grape and Watermelon) are on sale for just $40 on Amazon. (Photo: Amazon)

I lucked out and caught my daughter's Fitbit Ace 2 — Amazon's No. 1 bestselling app-enabled fitness tracker — on the cheap! It's down to just $40 because the next-gen Ace 3 is out. Granted, the newer $80 Ace 3 has a brighter display and longer battery life (eight days vs. five) but those upgrades weren't enough for me to shell out an extra $40. I didn't even know if she would actually wear the device. But she keeps it on 24/7, even in the shower and pool, removing it only briefly to clean or charge it.

She loves the step-tracker, the customizable watch face designs, virtual badges and fun on-screen milestone celebrations. She also gets a kick out of sending challenges to me and plans to send them to friends as well.

I will say that I'm very grateful that this kid watch doesn't track calories burned. Rather it focuses on positivity and good health.

It doesn't bother her a bit to sleep with the watch on overnight, which means I can track her sleep patterns and help her make improvements. The gentle pulsing alarm is also big plus, now that she must wake at 6 a.m. for school. I can even set it for her on the app.

Other parents and kids are equally happy with the Ace 2. It's raked in over 13,800 five-star ratings on Amazon.

One parent wrote: "My 10-year-old daughter absolutely loves this tracker. Not only does it look nice but the reminders to move and get ready for bed have made it such a nice addition! Plus her determination and competitiveness have given me the motivation I needed too!"

$40 $70 at Amazon

My husband and his Fitbit Versa 2

I want my husband's Versa 2. (Photo: Amazon)
The Fitbit Versa 2 is a fitness tracker and smartwatch rolled into one! (Photo: Amazon)

A solid, modern smartwatch, the Fitbit Versa 2, is awesome for tech-minded folks, like my husband. It features fitness tracking, music streaming and on-board music storage, contactless payments, voice-activated support (Alexa) and so much more.

Unfortunately, my husband's tech budget has fallen way behind tech advances. We learned that his iPhone 6 is a generation too old to connect with this smartwatch. But he is so thrilled with the possibilities of the Versa 2 that he insisted on keeping it. He had planned to upgrade his iPhone in the coming weeks anyway. He can't wait to connect his earbuds and watch to play Spotify music phone-free. But in the meantime he's digging the basic features and the look.

He's pretty blown away by how much mileage he gets just running around doing tech support at work. The watch even shows blood oxygen saturation! The calm breathing exercises serve him well too.

The latest version, Fitbit Versa 3, has a longer battery life and perhaps a neater interface, but I didn't see a really good reason to pay another $50 for that. The 2 is great!

Amazon customers have given Fitbit Versa 2 a whopping 58,600 five-star ratings, and it's clear from their comments that they are loving it.

"I'm addicted!" wrote one fan. "I couldn't decide between FitBit and an Apple Watch, so I ended up getting both to see which one I liked better. FitBit took the cake on this one."

Another Versa 2 lover said: "This is awesome. I love the accuracy of the sleep tracker, step counter, and heart rate monitor! As a former Charge 2 user, this thing is loaded with extra "bells and whistles," like Alexa built-in (SUPER CONVENIENT), ability to control Spotify/Pandora, cuts out the "middle man" i.e, your phone, when it comes to tracking water in-take, female calendar, as you can log all this info right from your wrist."

OK, now I'm coveting my husband's watch. Payback is hell.

$179 at Amazon

The reviews quoted above reflect the most recent versions at the time of publication.

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