Wearable Fitness Devices Track, Contextualize Movement, Sleep


It’s the new hot trend in health: high-tech wearable fitness devices that all generally track your movement and sleep, then put it into context for you.

“Most of the problems we have are not moving a lot, so it counts steps taken, calories burned, distance traveled,” said Stephna May of FitBit.

She’s talking, specifically, about FitBit monitors for between $60-$100. They’re the kind you clip on. What makes these different from many others is they have altimeters inside, so they can tell when you’re walking up or down stairs and therefore burning a few more calories.

Then, you have the fashionable bracelet types like the Jawbone Up. This, as it tracks your sleep, helps determine when you’re coming out of a sleep cycle and vibrates to help wake you at the most comfortable time for you. It works for power naps as well.

Another plus is, while all the devices have companion apps that tell you how many calories you’re burning and offer up overall health charts, they also have sections for you to log your food, which can be the most tedious part of the process. The Up app makes it a bit easier by allowing you to scan bar codes on food packaging. Once you do, all the nutritional info is thrown right into the system. The Up costs $130.

And BodyMedia Fitness has bands that are bulkier and not quite as stylish, but they are among the few that have sensors on your skin to tell you almost exactly how many calories you’re burning as opposed to estimating based on how many steps you’re taking. These cost between $120 and $150 but also require a $7 per month subscription to the online activity manager.

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