My life has settled down a little bit. Ariel has graduated high school and is ready to head to college. Maker Faire North Carolina is “Achievement Unlocked” for another year. That’s brought things around so that I can focus more time and energy on my own well-being, so I’m tackling some health and fitness goals.
Unsurprisingly, I’m going about this with an engineering mindset: hard data and tracking progress. Also unsurprisingly, I’m using technology to help. I thought I’d share some thoughts on my tools and process for anyone interested. I currently employing four pieces of technology: my iPhone, Runkeeper, a Withings WS-50 Smart Body Analyzer and my Jawbone UP.
Right now, I just want to review the Jawbone UP.
Short version: the UP is a $130 pedometer. I highly recommend it.
Long version: the Up is a $130 water-resistant pedometer that uses an accelerometer and fairly sophisticated software to track the number of steps you take each day (the recommended healthy number is 10,000) as well as tracking motion as you sleep to determine times awake, total hours of sleep and time in deep sleep versus shallow sleep. It is supported with a smartphone app — you just plug in the UP to the headphone jack on your phone to update your data. Additionally, the app is compatible with several other fitness products (including my new scale/body fat monitor) and Runkeeper (my running app) as well as others. Among other niceties it features a “power nap” mode to help you take the right length nap to refresh yourself without ending up “fuzzy” the rest of the day and the ability to set inactivity reminders if you are a desk jockey so that you get up and move on a regular basis.
After having used it for a couple of weeks I give this my vote of approval! My activity level is higher, I’m conscientious about not sitting still too long at work, and I’m doing a much better job of getting the sleep I need (something that boosts your metabolism and mental clarity). If it was to break six months from now I’d jump right back online and buy another with little hesitation. I do recommend, however, that if you are currently very sedentary that you set your movement goal to something quite a bit less than the recommended 10,000 daily steps. A very sedentary person might only take 3,000 steps a day or less, so going straight to 10,000 might be a bit discouraging. Also, recognize that the distances it tracks are based on calibrating your step length, but your stride varies with what you are doing — mowing the lawn, taking a stroll, going on a power walk, and running all have different strides, so distance tracking will be an approximation. If you want accurate distance info, try the Runkeeper app for your smartphone. That said, I think the number of steps you take per day is a better measure of your activity level than distance covered.
Verdict: If you are looking to get fitter/healthier I definitely recommend adding a Jawbone UP to your tool chest. You can get them from the manufacturer directly (website annoys me…) or from everyone’s favorite virtual megamall, Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/UP-Jawbone-Medium-Wristband-Packaging/dp/B00A17IAO0/