Do you own a Fitbit and wear it when horseback riding? My horse husband bought me this model for my birthday (in October) and I’m now getting into the groove using it. I particularly love my Fitbit for horseback riding and barn time because I can quantify the health benefits of my favorite activity!
Spoiler Alert! Since this blog post was originally published, I have moved on to a newer version of the Fitbit that has more capabilities. You can check out my thoughts on the Fitbit Blaze by clicking here, however this is a good starter piece to read to understand Fitbit capabilities for riding. Also, this post contains affiliate links which means if you click through and make a purchase, at no cost to you I will receive a small commission. Thanks!
A friend gave me a quick tutorial right around New Year’s and I have been collecting data about my rides. (I am completely aware that previous sentence about collecting data makes me sound geeky. I’m okay with it.) In this post I will share what I’ve learned about my riding fitness data and a few basic functions of the Fitbit.
Have you ever had non-horse friends proclaim: “Riding a horse is not exercise/a sport/hard–the horse does all the work”? Well, that’s not entirely true. This past weekend I did a difficult hour-long spin class at the gym and was shocked to realize that a recent riding lesson (walk, trot, canter, and a little jumping) burned almost the same number of calories!
In addition to tracking my rides, other reasons the Fitbit has become my new best friend: it will. . .
- Track my sleep.
- Serve as a watch.
- Act as a silent (vibrating) alarm (you have to enable this feature from the app on your phone).
- Display who is calling (again, you have to enable this from the app).
- And obviously track calories burned, steps, and heart rate.
- Keep a record of each type of exercise you do!
Fitbit For Horseback Riding: Workouts Analyzed
In the span of one week I had vastly different types of rides, thanks in part to trying to get Knight back into a more regular routine after his hospital stay. On December 29 I rode at mostly a walk for 40 minutes and burned 96 calories (averaging 2.4 calories per minute).
The next day I rode for 45 minutes and burned 108 calories averaging the same number of calories per minute.
The day after that was my riding lesson and I burned 5.9 calories per minute! If only every ride were a riding lesson!
This was welcome news as I’ve Googled other sites that assign a much lower calorie count to horseback riding.
I have one suggestion for the developers at Fitbit (and I’ve already given a customer support guy my idea, I probably need to write a letter to the CEO):
They need to figure out a way to have the steps subtracted for the duration of the horseback ride! One of the first times I hit 10,000 steps in one day was during a night time riding lesson. My left wrist started vibrating and apparently the Fitbit was flashing, which I didn’t see as I was engrossed in riding. My trainer asked me if a party were going on because my wrist was lighting up the darkness. It became clear to me then that when I wore the device while riding, I was technically cheating on my daily step count because Knight was taking the steps, not me.
How to Make Sure Your Horse’s Steps Don’t Show Up on Your Step Count
I learned the only way to subtract your horse’s steps is placing your “Workout” which is technically horseback riding into the category of “Driving.” The Exercise menu has a drop down list of various workouts to choose ranging from archery to Zumba. I haven’t tried this “Driving” category yet and it bugs me out of principle.
If the developers had foresight enough to know that equestrians would want to use a Fitbit for horseback riding to track fitness data, why not make a few coding tweaks so that when horseback riding is entered, it will deduct the step count during the timeframe in which the exercise took place?
In summary, this glitch with the horseback riding feature is not enough to diminish the practicality and fun of my Fitbit. It has become a wonderful way to record with the touch of a button at the beginning of my ride and a touch of a button at the end of the ride how long I rode and the intensity of the workout. I’ve only scratched the surface of the capabilities of my Fitbit. I’m looking forward to learning more of its features and figuring out more ways to use it at the barn.
Do you use a Fitbit for horseback riding or another type of fitness tracker? What are your favorite features, or what features would you like to use more in 2016? What questions have you had answered or still linger?
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