One of the cool things about having a blog, is that you can send subliminal messages to your husband through posts. Now, of course this only works if your husband reads your posts. Fortunately, Isaac 1) follows Hello Day and 2) passes the “did you read the entire post” pop quizzes with flying colors most of the time. He’s a keeper.
In December, I wrote about activity trackers and made it known that I was in the market. With Christmas and my birthday around the corner, I thought it was a brilliant (and super helpful) clue for my man. Lo and behold, a few days after that post, Isaac casually struck up a conversation about activity trackers over breakfast. How does that saying go? Oh, that’s right, “wrapped around my little finger.” I guess I’ll get to the point, Isaac got me the Jawbone UP24 for my birthday!
I have been wearing the band every day for the past month. The UP24 System (UP24 band and UP app) provides meaningful information regarding your movement and sleep. The app allows you to track what you eat/drink and log your mood, so you are able to connect how you feel with your behavioral patterns. You can find product details here and technical specs, user reviews and price insights here.
I tend to geek out on very few things, so I was not certain how the UP System and I would get along. I mean, data is only valuable if it reveals something – collecting information on my physical activity is useless unless it’s meaningfully organized and influences my behavior. Well, in the past month, I have both learned from and been prompted by the data on a daily basis. For instance…
- Total Steps – I strive for chronic movement throughout the day. The total steps metric is really helpful in seeing just how active I am during the day. The app shows both movement intensity, as well as idle periods of time (see below). My current goal is 10,500 steps per day. I check the app throughout the day, so I can plan for some additional activity time in the evening if I’m falling short of the goal. And by activity time, I mean playing chase with my kids, running up and down my stairs, or taking a night walk.
- Sleep Tracking – I was doubtful that this metric would be of much interest to me, but it has turned out to be valuable. Through movement, or lack thereof, the band detects your period of deep sleep, light sleep, and awake time. As shown below, the app summarizes your prior nights sleep. My kids, mostly Vera, frequently wake up at night, so it is validating when I wake up bleary-eyed and see the bright orange periods – no wonder I feel exhausted. That alone has been a useful reminder to go to sleep early and plan for an inconsistent night’s sleep.
- Idle Alert – UP24 has an Idle Alert feature, meaning the band will vibrate when you have been idle for a certain amount of time. I have mine set for 30 minutes and appreciate the reminder to get up and move.
While I have yet to fully explore the bells and whistles (ex. tracking food/drink, logging mood, trends), I consult the UP app several times a day to check in on my activity level and sleep. Additionally, I log my workouts in the UP app, instead of excel, which is what I have been doing for years (#nerdalert).
For the most part I’ve drank the Cool-aid, but there are a few areas that could use improvement.
- Occasionally, the band catches on things – mainly, my hair and my kids. I would prefer if the band secured on my wrist (like the NikeFuel Band) instead of the current overlap design.
- The band measures steps and distance through movement, so holding onto the handle of the stroller interrupts the measurement. This wasn’t a surprise to me – the three major activity trackers all have a similar issue. To ensure a more accurate account, I use RunKeeper app whenever I am on a walk or run (with or without the jogger). RunKeeper syncs with the UP app, so the run/walk is logged as an activity.
- The app does not allow you to view your logged workouts as a separate summary, but instead includes them in the summary of daily activity, and sleep.