For Christmas my fiancé and I had asked for fitness bracelets… we got the Jawbone Up! This is my review of the bracelet and fitness bracelets in general.
The concept of fitness bracelets is awesome, because it shows that consumers are more interested in staying active. Also most of these bracelets sync to food tracking apps on smartphones to let you know not only what calories you are burning, but in reference to the ones you are taking it. Obviously you want to be burning more than you are eating.
The Jawbone tracks steps and you can program it to track an activity, it gives a breakdown on active burn, longest time active, active time, total burn, resting burn, and longest idle. I have found the idle and active times right but not necessarily the calorie burn. I don’t usually track my calories during exercise, partly because I have enough knowledge to estimate it myself, and because I don’t think I need to know to worry myself about it. How many calories you burn during a workout doesn’t always directly relate to how hard you worked out, so that’s another reason I think counting calorie burn can be tedious. So I ignore the calorie burn because I don’t care and because I don’t believe it is accurate.
As far as the idle time, I have programmed my Jawbone to vibrate every half hour I’ve been inactive. This reminds me to get up from my desk if I’ve been charting and emailing all morning and stretch, go for a walk to the clinic, etc. This is one of my favorite features because I hate the idea of sitting at my desk all day, and I think many people feel the same way. It’s good to get up and stretch and get the blood flowing.
I do like the step tracking because it does motivate me to try to reach my goal of 10,000 steps. The only downside is that when I am running it is perceived as less steps so I would consider that somewhat of an inaccuracy, although not one that would be a big deal. My fiancé wanted these bracelets to be motivated to be more active… he has not done the greatest job with meeting his steps goals but he has been very diligent with his food tracking so he does know roughly how many calories he is putting into his body and is also learning the calorie content of different foods.
The food tracking through the Jawbone app is good but I would recommend syncing to the My Fitness Pal app for a larger data base. This is as accurate as you want it to be… you can spend the time weighing and measuring food and have an exact breakdown of calories or you can guestimate and have a range. As a Dietitian I don’t feel that I need this app, I don’t believe in calorie counting and I know about how many calories the foods I’m eating contain. I do think this is a great for the non-nutrition expert and I believe that many consumers would be shocked to see the calorie amounts in some of the foods they are regularly eating. I believe this type of tracking after time can help with behavior modification of eating by encouraging the person to make healthier foods choices. There is significant amount of research that shows keeping a food diary can greatly benefit and even double weight loss. Overall following calories eaten vs calories burned I believe can benefit the consumer to eat healthier and be more active.
One of the other bigger features of the Jawbone is sleep tracking. It helps you set a goal based on your age and what the average adult needs for sleep time. It also tracks light sleep, deep sleep, how long you’ve been in bed, how long it took you to fall asleep, and how many times you woke up during the night. I love this feature. I always wonder how well I actually slept and while I fall asleep relatively easily sometimes I feel as if it was not a restful sleep. I rarely meet my sleep goal of 8 hours but I usually get at least 7 which is very vital to overall health. I think this should encourage users to meet sleep goal and not over sleep. It’s also good for tracking patterns of deep sleep vs light, and how many times you woke up if you are someone who has problems sleeping at night.
While those are the main features of the Jawbone you can track trends, set goals, sync with multiple apps, and also build a team. My fiancée and I are on a team together so we can create a sort of competition to meet our goals. Some find it motivating to share health, nutrition, and fitness, others prefer to keep it private which you can also do. It is definitely not something I will wear for years but it does give me a good big picture of my activity level and sleep. I would highly recommend using the food tracking as well to assess your overall nutrition. If you are striving to be healthier this year through better eating or increased activity this is definitely a great way to track the progress you are making, as well as a great motivational tool to help keep you accountable!
Feel free to let me know if you have any questions about the Jawbone! Do you use any fitness/food tracking apps or devices?? What do you like/dislike about them?? Have you found them effective for keeping you on track for a diet or fitness plan??