When a Fitbit tickles your wrist to celebrate your first 10,000 steps, you’ll want to feel it again — and you’ll make sure that you do.

But not all Fitbit-wearers are created equal, especially in the workplace.

How does a desk-bound e-content manager fare when matched against a downtown Toronto lawyer? Can a new mom on maternity leave outstep a high school teacher?

The Star asked the five participants to wear their Fitbit Charge HR all day and all night for one week last month, only taking it off to swim, shower or clean the device. They were asked not to go out and attempt to become pro athletes, but instead use the device as a monitor and motivator.

This particular Fitbit device measures the wearer’s heart rate at all times (to varying accuracy, according to some users who have complained in online reviews and blogs). With constant monitoring we could measure their activity day and night, and pit them against each other in a “Weekend Warrior” step challenge. The participants took daily audio diaries and “selfies” to accompany their experience.

While the step count is the most popular function of fitness trackers such as the Fitbit, steps aren’t necessarily the best indicator of activity level. Lawyer Muneeza Sheikh had the second lowest step count for the week at 70,659, but spent the most hours active at close to 50. Spending much of her work days going in and out of client meetings and ending nights playing tag with her kids, Sheikh had a low sedentary score and high level of “light” activity.

As Sheikh well knows parenting can be exhausting, and for new mom Jean Hon, the Fitbit was there to remind her of that fact all-day long.

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