I got my FitBit Ultra pedometer back on March 9, 2012. I’m interested in data and was inspired in part by Stephen Wolfram’s post on personal analytics. Since then, I’ve used my pedometer every day. It has become part of my routine, and I don’t even think about it. The pedometer collects minute-by-minute data, which can be accessed through FitBit’s API, and I have a Google Spreadsheet that captures this minute-by-minute data each day.
Not long ago, there was a kind of “how-to” post on the Wolfram blog that described how to analyze this kind of data using Mathematica. I followed their instructions and produced some interesting results, for six months worth of pedometer data.
First, some basic totals for the six months from March 9, 2012 through September 12, 2012 (189 days)
- Total steps: 1,638,416
- Avg. steps/day: 8,715
- Total miles: 812
- Avg. miles/day: 4.3
- Total floors climbed: 3,277
- Avg. floors/day: 17.4
Next, some bests and worsts:
- Most steps in a day: 17,944 on August 30, 2012 (while I was at Worldcon in Chicago)
- Fewest steps in a day: 2,023 on April 23, 2012
My FitBit Ultra captures steps in 1-minute intervals. The following charts are based on 30,543 minutes worth of data over the last 6 months in which I took at least 1 step during that interval.
First up, here is what my cumulative daily profile looks like:
These are cumulative totals plotted over the intervals during the day in which they fell. From this, you can get an idea of my daily walking patterns. When I got my pedometer, I started a new habit of taking a 20 minute walk every weekday at 10am. It helps clear my head and ensures I get some fresh air during the day. I take this walk regardless of the weather and I think I’ve only skipped the walk two or three times in the last six months. That walk is what produces the spike at 10am. The spike at about 5pm is when I walk to the Little Man’s school after work to pick him up. His school is within walking distance and so it gives me a little more exercise throughout the day. You can also see from this data that I do almost no walking after about 10pm.
Next is my walking habits plotted over time. There are two charts that make up this data. The top chart are the daily totals plotted over the last 6-months. The bottom chart is the monthly averages. The September average is blank because the month is not yet complete:
The numbers on the y-axis are steps. There are places where the minute-by-minute data is missing because I didn’t sync up at night (as for instance when I was in Chicago for Chicon or on vacation in Maine) but the data is generally consistent. The monthly averages were trending down through the end of June and then started picking back up in July. Right now, they appear to be fairly level.
I find this data interesting. I have similar data for keystrokes and some other activities that are easy to automate, but this is a fairly practical look at six months worth of physical activity. It will be interesting to see what the next six months look like.