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It measures "very active time" in addition to steps, but I have no idea what that means. Assuming it's based on "lots of arm movement, does that mean that it'll pick up jogging, but not a stationary bike? Is there some way to tell it I'm (finally, at long last) working out?

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I have had my fitbit for a little over week now and have done a duathlon and a 12k as well as other training runs - my Fitbit has yet to acknowledge that I have indeed had some "very active" minutes. –  user8684 May 19 '14 at 16:31

2 Answers 2

up vote 4 down vote accepted

From the Fitbit help pages:

You earn "Very Active Minutes" when you wear your Fitbit while doing cardio workouts and high intensity activities like jogging, running, aerobics, biking, rowing, or anything where you are working up a sweat.

By default, you are given a starting goal of 30 Very Active Minutes a day based on the Center for Disease Control's recommendation of 20-30 minutes of daily moderate-to-intense activity. You can always change your Very Active Minutes goal to meet your personal needs.

Which doesn't tell us much, though I suspect it should be able to pick up forward accelerations.

Other help topic mention your concern regarding cycling:

All Fitbit trackers are optimized for walking, running, and general household and lifestyle activities. It will not be as accurate for activities like biking, but will record that your were active if you wear your tracker during a non-walking or running activity. For increased accuracy, go to: http://www.fitbit.com/activities or click the "log activity" icon from your Dashboard to manually log activities like cycling. This will allow for a more accurate estimated calorie burn for workouts like cycling to be included in your daily totals. Our online database of workouts makes it easy to save and access your favorite activities.

and:

All Fitbit trackers are optimized for walking, running, and general household and lifestyle activities. It will not be as accurate for activities like biking, but will record that your were active if you wear your tracker during a non-walking or running activity. For increased accuracy, go to: http://www.fitbit.com/activities or click the "log activity" icon from your Dashboard to manually log activities like cycling. This will allow for a more accurate estimated calorie burn for workouts like cycling to be included in your daily totals. Our online database of workouts makes it easy to save and access your favorite activities.

Here's more information regarding manual logging.

Given that the Fitbit Flex uses a 3-axial accelerometer, I reckon it starts counting Very Active Minutes as soon as it notices a deviation from patterns of known activities such as normal walking, sitting or lying down/sleep. Especially if you fall into a repetitive pattern, it should be able to reliably determine you're doing something.

My advice for cycling: put the wristband around your ankles, they might record awkward data, but it'll surely be very reliable.

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So how is weight training not considered active minutes? When I used to log my activities (some training sessions lasting up to 90 minutes at medium-to-high intensity) it counted the time. The latest update is so far from truthful that it shouldn't be considered indicative of physical activity. I sweat buckets when I train so the logic you provide is deeply flawed.

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protected by Eric Kaufman Feb 1 at 0:01

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