Fitness trackers are small, wearable devices that keep track of how much you move and some can even track how well you sleep. They come with a smartphone app (of course they do) where you can review the data and optionally log the food and drinks you've consumed throughout the day.
Yes, your smartphone can do most of that.
Before, I was using one app to track my daily caloric intake. Another app was keeping track of how much I walked during the day. Yet another app was responsible for tracking my workouts. And none of my apps told me how much sleep I was getting.
I did a lot of research before choosing which fitness tracker to buy for myself. Most of the reviews were written by people who had been given the product for free to test out. This isn't a bad thing, but I would have liked to see how people felt after shelling out $100+ for their device.
After exhaustive research, I paid (RETAIL!) for mine, and I chose the Jawbone Up.
Here are the pros:
1. While the pedometer on my phone worked great, it drained my battery. If it were an option, I'd be willing to pay a little money to extend the life of my phone battery, so why not re-delegate some of its responsibilities? Also, women's clothes don't always have pockets. If I leave my phone on the kitchen counter (or the charger!), it's not tracking my steps. My fitness tracker is always on my wrist, always tracking my movement. If I sit idle for too long, it gently vibrates to remind me to get up and stretch my legs.
2. Similarly, my workout clothes aren't phone-friendly. While I use an arm band to hold my phone when I run, it gets in the way at the gym. The wristband NEVER gets in my way.
3. Even if you do prefer to use your smartphone to keep track of your health routine, the Jawbone Up syncs with several of the popular apps such as MyFitnessPal.
4. In my personal experience, keeping a food journal is much easier with the Jawbone Up app compared to the other apps I've tried. From the reviews I've read about it, not a lot of people favor the Up's food logging system. No, you can't create recipes with their overall nutrition information. I don't have time to do that anyway. But I find it easy to scan a bar code of the food I'm eating or use the very thorough food database.
5. Sleep tracking! Does it work? Some studies question its accuracy, but my personal experience has been that it does a very good job. When I wake up in the middle of the night, I usually remember. When I sync my Up in the mornings, it shows that I did in fact wake up. When I wake up feeling refreshed, I'm not surprised to find that the app shows I got a good amount of "deep sleep."
6. It has a built in alarm. While I hate alarms that dare wake me up in the morning, the same vibration that reminds me during the day that I've been sitting too long wakes me up. For those who question whether the technology can accurately tell whether you're in deep sleep or light sleep, I'll note that the wristband's alarm always seems to go off once I've started to become aware that it's morning - and it doesn't go off at the exact same time every day. Instead, it knows to wake me within a 20-minute window of what time I set it to go off, and it waits for me to reach a lighter sleeping rhythm. Smart, huh?
Yes, I spent a lot more time on the sleep tracking portion, but it's really my favorite part.
Here are the cons:
1. The pedometer doesn't work that well on a treadmill. (Fine by me. I'd rather walk outside.)
2. The Jawbone Up doesn't keep track of how many flights of stairs you climb. (I only mention this because the FitBit does do this.)
3. You're supposed to wear the wristband fitness trackers on your non-dominant hand. So, if you are accustomed to wearing a watch, you'll either need to double up on one wrist or change things up. (I've never been a watch-wearer, so this wasn't a problem for me.)
That's really all I could think of for the cons section.
There you have it, a stellar review for the Jawbone Up. My husband bought the FitBit Force a couple of weeks after I bought my Up, but it was later recalled and he ended up buying the Jawbone Up 24 to replace it. The difference? His communicates to the app via Bluetooth, whereas I have to plug mine in to my phone to sync it.