Fitness Tracker Roadtest
Okay, so we’ve all heard about fitness trackers – but why do we need one and how do they compare to a cheap pedometer? We put a few types to the test to see if they are worth the investment…
Fitness Tracker – Everyday Motivator
Firstly, who doesn’t need a little motivation to do exercise every day? Okay, I know some of us are better than others and having a workout or jogging buddy can really help push ourselves. But what about for most of us, day to day? On my way out of the train station I’m presented with a set of stairs (nothing crazy) and escalators. I often notice that people go out of their way, walk all the way past the stairs, to get to the escalators – even queue up for the escalator while the stairs are empty. So what makes people choose escalators over stairs? Maybe it’s illness related – sore leg etc. But maybe it’s just habit. The easy way must be the best way… why bother?
In previous posts I have mentioned Tom Rath’s book Eat, Move, Sleep. Rath describes the importance of lifestyle changes in fighting obesity and disease. He used a Fitbit to track his daily steps and physical activity. He claims the Fitbit was solely responsible for a 3 mile increase in his daily walking – from 2 miles a day to 5 miles per day – every day for the past four years! He claims that without a fitness tracking device there would absolutely be no way he would walk so much. So we too took the test and found that we too increased our daily activity – just by being aware of our steps! It definitely made us think twice about our choices and daily habits. Instead of going auto-pilot on any escalator we took the stairs – small changes!
Setting a Daily Goal
Fitness, or activity trackers, motivate people by helping to set daily goals. 10,000 steps (or approximately 5 miles) is a common daily goal. This might sound like a lot but it really is easy to reach once you’re motivated – you will find ways to achieve your goal! Taking the stairs, walking that short distance to the shops, parking further away from the supermarket, walking the dog, going for a walk at lunch time etc. I find the key is to make it enjoyable – listen to a podcast, an audio book, some motivating music or stream the radio or some other music player (I like Tunein Radio, Podcast Republic and Spotify). Now that 10,000 steps per day equals big health benefits – such as weight loss, avoidance of diabetes, cardiovascular disease and also as UK comedian David Mitchell testifies in his autobiography, fixes chronic back pain. And how many of us have back pain?
Why Should I Track my Sleep?
So we decided to test fitness trackers which included a sleep tracker function. Inspired by Rath who claims that ‘sleep makes or breaks a day’ but also a whole week. I find this totally true. As the working week drags on I feel more and more tired. When we have a bad night’s sleep we often make up for it with extra caffeine or sugar – stuff that makes us feel better for a little while then ultimately worse! – and may affect the next night’s sleep! Ending in a vicious cycle! We might talk ourselves out of going to the gym as we’re feeling a bit tired. We never catch up. As we get older I think we all notice this! It’s a total downhill spiral and we do anything to drag our butts to Friday! But a lack of sleep can have a huge snowball effect – we’re less productive at work, grumpy with our family and co-workers, eat crappy and avoid exercise. Then our Saturdays are spent trying to sleep in – our precious free-time! …before starting the cycle again… Rath claims that getting an extra hour a day can be the difference between a crappy day and a good one – and ultimately a good week!
Fitness Trackers – What we Recommend
Up 24 by Jawbone
If you don’t mind the wristband style this product is great. It aims to help you make adjustments to your everyday lifestyle by allowing you to set goals and use the app to monitor your nutrition and sleep activity.
- Found it to be more accurate than Fitbit in assessing activity levels
- The app is clear, easy to use and understand – much better than the Fitbit
- Recently updated their food logging function in the app which is great. Totally worthwhile using
- Quite stylish
- also available in orange
- Some people may find it a little bulky but we dot used to it
- You can only view results on phone – not on your computer
- It doesn’t have a screen
Some people prefer a more discrete option that a wristband. If so, this is for you…
- As fitness trackers are meant to be worn all the time for accurate results, this product offers a lot of flexibility. Can be attached to under garments etc. Classy night out? No problem!
- Features a screen for instant data
- Comes in burgandy and black
- Need to attach to wristband accessory at night for accurate sleep tracking results (although we found this quite comfortable to wear)
- Comes with clip which can be broken (although we didn’t have issues). Separate clip available for purchase in both colors
- Not advised for swimming
We know a lot of our readers are keen swimmers and if you are looking for something waterproof this is your best option…
- completely waterproof
- Can be worn to look like a watch
- Also option of clasping to clothing with magnetic function
- Sleek design
- Lights up to reflect goals achieved
- Robust and lightweight
- Available in different colors
- Magnet can attach itself inadvertently to things
- Syncing capacity not as good as other models
So whatever your preference of design, you can be assured that your investment in one of these little babies will quickly outweigh the benefits of your increased physical activity. We are testimony to this!
What price do you put on daily motivation to stay healthy?