Watch Out! Your Wristband Is Tracking You…

I love my gadgets but very few recent devices have caught my imagination like the current wave of activity and sleep trackers. Devices like the Fitbit Flex wristband and the UP wristband by Jawbone have the potential to change our lives by monitoring two of the most important elements that factor into our overall health: exercise and sleep.

The Fitbit Flex and the UP attach comfortably to your wrist but there are other activity trackers like the Fitbit One that attach to a belt or any other convenient item of clothing. Once activated, they literally track your activity every minute of the day. They record how many steps you take, how many calories you burn, how many minutes per day you are active, and, most importantly, how well you are sleeping.

Most activity trackers are compatible with the iPhone, iPad and a growing number of Android devices. Set up couldn’t be easier. You just download the relevant app from your app store, set up your account, and sync your phone with the activity tracking device. (The UP wristband syncs by plugging into the headset jack on your phone, while Fitbit devices sync wirelessly.)

As part of the set up process, you will be asked to set both movement and sleep goals. On the UP band, the default movement goal is 10,000 steps per day, which works out around 5 miles for the average person. Similarly, the default sleep setting is 8 hours, but you can set it to anything you want. After that, the activity band tracks your progress, giving you a detailed breakdown of how you are doing against each goal.

Even though 10,000 steps a day might sound like a lot, you will be surprised at how quickly those steps mount up. Remember, the activity tracker is monitoring every step you take, so even if you just get up to answer the door, that’s another 40 steps in the bank. Of course, the real goal is to get you to exercise and activity trackers are amazingly effective at doing just that. You might find that your dog is getting a lot more evening walks as you make sure you hit your daily goal!

Just as fascinating are the nighttime readouts. Not only do activity trackers record how long you slept but they can also tell you how long it took you to fall asleep, the amount of light sleep versus deep sleep, and how often you woke up during the night. After just a few days of use, you start forming habits that promote better quality sleep, which may ultimately be the biggest benefit of using one of these devices.

In addition to its automatic movement and sleep tracking capabilities, the activity trackers allow you to manually input and track various other activities, including your food and drink intake, your workouts, and even your moods! As with most connected device these days, you can also share your data with friends via Facebook or Twitter.

Activity trackers are one of those breakthrough categories that use state-of-the-art technology to completely transform an everyday activity. Try one and I guarantee you’ll be hooked!

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