Healthcheck: Weighing in on fitness bands

Fitness bands or activity trackers promise to give you an overall assessment of your daily health habits but which one is right for you?
November 22, 2013 8:33:15 PM PST
Fitness bands or activity trackers promise to give you an overall assessment of your daily health habits. However with so many hitting the market, how do you know which one is right for you?

We recruited four trainers from Body Cycle Studio to try four popular fitness bands for a week.

Shoshana checked out Body Media Fit Link, Danielle wore the Fitbit Flex, Jess tested the Nike Fuel and Russell had the Jawbone UP band.

Overall, as fitness trainers, they agree that they like the idea behind all the bands.

"I think we can all use some accountability and motivation," said Rusell.

All the bands track steps taken.

The UP band and Nike Fuel can even be set up to give you a nudge if you sit too long.

All bands also measure exercise and calories burned.

You'll have to input each workout in all bands except Body Media's. It claims to be the most accurate in determining calories burned because it has special sensors.

"I am a spinner, I do not run anymore and for me I thought it would be the better choice because it tracks your overall cardio," said Shoshana.

However the UP band does give an option to also log intensity, which can lead to more accurate results.

As for calories taken in, with all devices, you'll have to log your food intake.

The FitBit Flex also has a water log.

"It definitely made me drink more water," said Danielle.

As for rest, only the newest version of Nike Fuel tracks sleep.

FitBit Flex tracks how long you sleep and if you're restless, Body Media and Jawbone UP seem to go a step further, tracking quantity and quality.

"It was interesting to find out how many hours I am really into a deep sleep and they say the REM sleep is the best," said Russell.

However as for uploading and viewing results, with the current UP Band, you have to plug your band in to your smartphone or computer.

A newer version will sync wirelessly.

With Nike Fuel, you can track your progress anytime with a simple touch.

"So if you hit it once it says I have 2,300 points, which the goal for an active person is 4,000 per day," said Jess.

Newer models of Fuel connect via Bluetooth but only with an IPhone.

With FitBit Flex, results are synced wirelessly as soon as you open the app. It's a similar process with Body Media Fit Link.

"All you have to do is go live, push the button and it starts uploading all the information it tracks," said Shoshana.

All devices give you an overview of your habits, putting the power to change them close to your fingertips.

"There is so much you can do with it, if you use everything in it, you can turn your life around," said Danielle.

The bands range in cost from about $100 to $150. Body Media has a $7 monthly fee for the application after a trial phase.

The technology is constantly changing and upgrading though so prices may also change.


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