Fitbit has made its paid-for service, Fitbit Premium, free for 90 days to help people stay healthy during the coronavirus lockdown.
Anyone who hasn't subscribed to the per year service is eligible to start the three month trial, which should (please) get us through the self isolation blues. If you own a Fitbit smartwatch or fitness tracker, this is a no-brainer.
Fitbit Premium consists of four main areas: workouts, medium-term health programmes, mindfulness, and deep insights into your health data. And for all us social distancers and self-isolators, it's a great way to get an endorphin boosting workout, feel better about our lack of daily steps and get in tune with our health.
Essential reading: Complete guide to the Fitbit app
To access the content you just need to head to the flag for the 7 day Premium trial in the app – which once tapped will show as 90 days. You need to add payment info, so set a reminder for three months time, so you remember to cancel if you don't like it.
Here's a run-down of the Fitbit Premium app features and what you can now access for free.
HIIT and workouts
A big part of Fitbit Premium is workouts – which will be of particular interest for those not able to get to the gym, or indeed out for a run. There's a host of workouts in the app, from core to all body strength – that will test all range of fitness levels.
Workouts are also adapted to suit fitness levels - and they are adapted as you give feedback on how you found the session. Based on that feedback future sessions are adapted for you.
And it's not just a bunch of made-up workouts from some guys at the Fitbit office.
The workouts are imported from experts at organisations such as Physique 57, barre3, Popsugar, Yoga Studio and more.
We're living through a seriously stressful time, and many will be looking for something to take a break from the rolling news, social media and worry about jobs and health.
The Fitbit Premium app has guided mindfulness sessions - with over 150 to choose from - which adds into the mix of workouts and health stats too.
There are guided breathing, bedtime stories, anti-anxiety meditations and more. If you're having trouble sleeping there are guided sessions for that, too.
Once you've picked a program, Premium will ask you a series of questions about your health and goals, and from there you'll have a daily series of items to cross off – think things like, "Did you avoid that sugary drink you usually go for at Starbucks?" and, "Did you avoid looking at screens an hour before bed last night?"
The app will monitor your performance as you go, taking into account your targets and pulling in data from your Fitbit device – and if you’re off course, it will readjust.
Premium will also dish out daily insights, which is similar to its Sleep Insights, an existing feature that contextually advises you on improving your rest time using our data.
It's a good idea, but one that's a little thin right now. With Premium, this now extends to advice about exercise and other healthier habits too.
To start with, these insights will take into account heart rate, calorie and sleep data, but there are plans to make it more encompassing as time goes on.
- Get More ZZZs
- Understand Calories
- Beginner Running
- Run Training
- Get Active
Advanced sleep tracking
Fitbit's also changing how sleep data works in Premium. While it's bringing its Sleep Score feature from beta into a rolled-out feature, only Premium subscribers will have access to certain features.
Sleep Score now gives you an overall score from 0-100 based on how well you slept the night before, taking into account the time slept, the amount of time spent in light/deep/REM sleep, and how restorative your sleep was.
If you're not a Premium subscriber you'll still see a breakdown of your sleep stages, as you do now, and you'll get the overall sleep score – but Premium users will also get to see a breakdown of that score, as well as a graph showing how their heart rate performed overnight.
The final, and perhaps most intriguing, aspect of the new Premium service is how it brings in other people, as well as healthcare professionals.
Wellness Reports is a Premium feature that gives you a breakdown of your last 30 days of sleep, resting heart rate, weight (if tracked), and sleep stats.
It gets delivered as a PDF, and Fitbit suggests using it to start a conversation with your doctor, when they ask about your lifestyle – and this in turn can be used to inform their feedback.
“We’ve worked with leading physicians, and a lot of the advice is they don’t want to see reams of data,” James Park told Wareable. “They want to see actually what’s significant about the data. So it could be places where things have changed in your own history – your data is different today compared to a month or a year ago.”
But it also won't stop there. “Eventually it’s going to help people prevent and manage more serious chronic disease conditions,” Park added, listing off heart disease, hypertension and sleep apnea as a few examples.
Park cited Fitbit's wide base of users as a promising sign for Premium, but of course, there’s no way to know how many of its subscribers users will convert to the paid service. Premium certainly looks good at first blush, but as Fitbit transitions into a company that's leaning more heavily on services, it remains to be seen if its users will follow.
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