Want to live a more active life? Well, you can’t improve what you don’t measure.
For a fun, easy way to track personal health metrics, many people have begun to wear fitness trackers on their wrists. These tiny, watch-like devices can measure diet, exercise, and sleep cycle to give individuals a good idea of how healthy they are, and where they can improve.
Whether training for the Olympics or simply trying to make some simple lifestyle changes, anyone can reap the benefits of this new innovation in wearable technology. After all, who couldn’t use a little help staying active and aware of their health goals?
The most popular companies currently designing fitness trackers are Nike, Jawbone, and Fitbit. Here is a quick rundown of their latest models, and links to their websites for further information.
Pros: Touted as “the sleekest wristband on the market,” this device is lightweight and stylish. It is considerably less bulky than other models, and it has a longer battery life than its competitors. It is also the first Jawbone tracker to go wireless, allowing your data to sync with your computer via Blue Tooth.
Cons: In order to maintain its sleek shape and battery life, the Jawbone UP24 was designed without a screen. If you want to track your progress, you’ll need to be disciplined in referencing the Jawbone App on your computer or phone, because you cannot simply look down at your screen.
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Pros: Nothing fuels the fire of active living like a bit of friendly competition. With this in mind, Nike has designed the Nike+ Fuelband with a companion app that allows users to connect with friends. By plugging this device into your computer, you can connect with other Fuelband users to compare stats and mark progress. It also has a built-in reminder system that allows users to plan ahead and stay on task.
Cons: The Fuelband does not track sleep patterns. It also has a bulkier frame, which some users have said is inconvenient to wear when doing things other than exercise.
Pros: With an easy-to-use screen that functions much like a watch, the Fitbit Force lets you check your progress with a quick glance. By pressing a small button on the side of the Force, the device will display the number of steps taken, calories burned, active minutes per day, and miles walked. It also has a built-in notification system to congratulate you whenever a goal is reached. Hooray for positive reinforcement!
Cons: Fitbit has issued a recall of all Fitbit Force units due to complaints from approximately 1.7% of users that the device causes skin irritation. Probably best to hold off buying one until that issue is resolved in the next product rollout.
In the meantime, you could still get a Fitbit Flex, which does not feature a display like the Force.
Wearable fitness trackers are not only a good way to help you stay active—they’re a lot of fun, too! This does not appear to be a passing fad. They can change the way you approach fitness and help you live a fuller, healthier life.