New Year, New Fitness Technology
Writer / Alicia Wettrick
The last time I donned wearable technology was a Casio calculator watch in 1982. Now with the new technology, I can go from converting metrics to collecting my own personal biometrics.
What is It About Wearable Technology That Excites People?
The answer is data. We love collecting personal data that can be analyzed and graphed, revealing details of our daily lives. So naturally, devices that collect personal biometric data would be popular among the fitness and tech crowds. Fitness bands can do an array of metric measuring such as heart rates, step count, calories burned and some even track sleep patterns. Most bands alert you when you meet your daily goal or remind you to get moving. All this data can be synched to a smart phone, tablets or PC and if desire, you can share your metrics with others to add a “gaming” element to your fitness.
Myriad of Fitness Bands
There is a bundle of fitness bands on the market, but how do you know which one is right for you? It all depends upon features and price, which range from $50 up to $400. Here is a review of some of the most popular and reasonably priced bands on the market.
Garmin Vivosmart ($199.99)
This band “learns” your activity habits and tailors a personalize goal each morning. It has a nice display screen to check progress and tell the time. Therefore, you do not have to synch-it to see basic data. Vivosmart alerts you by vibration when you have calls, texts, emails, meetings, or if you need to walk more. This device connects wirelessly to Garmin Connect, although some complained of experiencing issues with syncing the device to a computer and phone. The less expensive Garmin Vivofit ($99.99) has the same features except the call/text notifications.
• Tracks steps, calories burned, distance; monitors sleep (have to switch to sleep mode)
• Monitors calls, texts, meetings and emails with vibration or screen display.
• Long battery life, more than a year; water-resistant
• Wireless sync; pairs with heart rate monitor
Fitbit Flex ($99.99)
Known to be very comfortable and sleek in style, the Flex has a LED light only to inform of progress, no display screen, data is checked through a wireless connected app. Highly rated for being motivational and providing great data to help achieve daily goals.
• Tracks steps, distance, calories burned and active minutes; sleep patterns
• Vibration wake-up alarm
• LED lights show how your day is stacking up against your goal
• Rechargeable battery up to for 5 days; water-resistant
• Wireless sync
Jawbone UP ($49.99)
This is the most slim and inconspicuous band on the market. No LED lights or display screen so you would have to check your progress on a phone. Known to be easy to operate and it allows you to scan food barcodes through the app. The new Jawbone UP24 ($129.99) has Bluetooth capabilities, although there has been many complaints with the rechargeable battery malfunctioning.
• Tracks steps, exercise, calories burned; sleep patterns
• Tracks diet, calories and nutrients with UP App Food Score; monitors healthy eating.
• Vibrating alarm to get moving or to wake-up.
• Rechargeable battery up to 10 days; water-resistant
• No wireless syncing; must be plugged into phone
Misfit Shine ($119.99)
The Shine has the most unique and versatile design with its removable rounded face that can be worn as a wristband, pin, belt clip or necklace. You can wear it while swimming. A halo of LED lights informs of activity progress, but has no display screen.
• Tracks steps, exercise, swimming, distance, calories burned; sleep patterns
• No charging required, replaceable battery lasts up to six months
• Wireless sync
• Waterproof; can be worn while swimming (up to 50 meters)
In talking to several local Greenwood residents that wore a variety of these bands, most agree that the technology is only as good as your motives. If you don’t check your data, the band is only an accessory. However, most found that these bands were a “wake-up” call in acknowledging your fitness goals, and inspired them to at least walk or run more. Yes, some had some frustration with the technology at first, but moved from fashion accessory to the ultimate goal: getting fit.
So, this holiday season that starts with an extra serving of stuffing, and ends with a “resolution,” give fitness bands a second look to keep you dedicated to your overall health and fitness. Happy (Healthy) Holidays!