Monthly Archives: February 2013

Fitness gadget – the Jawbone Up

Recently there has been a flurry of activity in the tech world with get fit gadgets. I say anything that can help me get healthy is in my toy box for a test! Being a gadget geek has some advantages – I feel no guilt buying my toys. How else am I going to give my considered opinion to you, my dear audience?

I did a bunch of research online about the leading products Nike Fuel Band, Jawbone Up and Fitbit tracker. They each had pros and cons – I like the Fuel Band because it tells the time and uses Bluetooth to sync to app, but it didn’t track your sleep which I was interested in. The Fitbit tracks sleep and activity and had Bluetooth sync, but it is a clip on device instead of a band and there were plenty of reports of people putting them through the laundry. The Jawbone Up doesn’t have Bluetooth sync or tell the time, but it does track sleep and activity and is a bangle form. All are in the $100 – $150 range – the Jawbone UP is $129.99.

Here is the official website where you can check out the different colors of bands: https://jawbone.com/up

FitBit looks to be releasing a bangle style version later this year which may be worth taking a look at. Of course, if Apple does release the long rumoured iWatch then all bets will be off the table!!

So off I went to the Apple store to buy one and saw this other device I had never heard of – Lark Life. In the store I was googling it and talking to the Apple guy who was very helpful. In the end though, the Lark was just too big on my wrist – and a really bright blue! I ended up getting a nice mint green Jawbone instead.

This is what my band looks like and this is how I wear it:

band wrist

You can see why it would be nice if it told the time so I could actually lose the watch – no I don’t get the whole ‘pull you phone out your pocket to tell the time’ business!

You wear the band day and night – it is water resistant so you can wear it in the shower, but I see no reason to do this! It automatically tracks the steps you take – you can manually calibrate your stride if you are very serious – and why not, it was easy to do. The band can stay charged for 10 days although I find it is closer to 8 days – it takes about 45 mins to charge up. One end of the band has a cap that you pull off to reveal a headphone plug – stick it into you iPhone and the band syncs to the app. You initially set up goals for daily steps and nightly sleep time. You can manually track food through the app. You can also track your mood during the day by clicking on the smiley face on the app.

Here is the daily summary screen showing how much of the sleep, and step goals have been achieved and what your food diary is looking like:

summary

If you tap on the purple sleep bar it opens up to show the details of how well you slept:

sleep
There are alarms that can be set that will make the bracelet vibrate to wake you up – they can be set to wake you during a light sleep cycle a half hour around the time you set, or wake you at the exact time set. You set the alarms via the app and then sync the UP via the headphone jack. An update has just come out that lets you set multiple alarms for different times on different days.

Clicking on the orange steps bar takes you to a screen that shows your activity during the day:

steps

The deeper red a bar is the more quickly or intense your steps were.

A cool feature that I have found really helps me is setting the idle alarm. If I sit for more than an hour the UP will buzz me to remind me to get up and go for a walk. You can decide what interval you want to be buzzed on and between what hours – so you sleep peacefully!

You can track your mood throughout the day as well by clicking on the smiley face and sliding your finger up or down the face to show you are feeling happy or sad, energetic or dragging! You can also add a comment or change the description words to detail how or why you are feeling a certain way:

mood

Add food by tapping the food icon on the other side from the smiley face. UP has a very extensive food dictionary or you can scan the barcode of an item to put it in.

food
Not sure of the nutritional information accuracy – it says it is based on USDA guidelines. I generally just use it as a vague guide to how I am doing during the day.

Another feature that prompted me to quit eating chocolate (yes me, really!) was the food word cloud – so the more you eat something the bigger the word shows – my biggest word was consistently CHOCOLATE!!! The only issue with it is that it maps the word, not by item. So you could eat raisin oatmeal and maple sugar oatmeal and both maple, sugar, raisin and oatmeal will be added:

food cloud
Note that this is a word cloud for the last 7 days.

You can switch to the lifeline screen and view your daily activity, meals and sleep in real time:

lifeline

There are also trend screens that you can check and change the options you use to track – like calories consumed, steps, deep sleep, saturated fat, etc.  You can also trend by days, weeks or months:

trends

There is a teams option where you can check each others stats and cheer one another on, but I don’t know anyone else who has an UP so I have no team 😦

When I initially started researching these devices, I have to admit I was some what sceptical that it would do more that inspire me for a few days and then I would get bored and go back to normal. However, the opposite has happened. I was inspired to quit the junk and hit my 10,000 steps a day goal (5 miles) and in the last week I have lost 5lbs!!! I don’t think I have actually lost weight in a few years – even going to the gym. I love the goal tracking – it has inspired me to keep at it and even try harder.

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