You’ve probably got at least one friend or coworker who wears one; a fitness band, pedometer, step counter, heart rate monitor or clip. You may have wondered why they’re so great and what they can do for you.
In short they’re ultra-smart, ultra portable monitors that can give you information on things like how much you move, how well you sleep, some can show your heart rate, how high you climb and even how many calories you’re burning.
There’s several models out there; the Nike Fuelband, the Magellan echo, Pebble, plus health tracking is also built into the Apple watch (whenever it comes out) and the Samsung Gear watches. Wearables are big business — fitness monitoring has become a billion-dollar industry. Most fitness bands are compatible with the biggies; iPhone and Android phones, and each one pairs with an app that displays your data.
On CTV Morning Live, we took a look at several options for fitness and health bands. I’ll note a bit about each, but check back here in the coming weeks for detailed reviews of each band shown on TV. You can watch the video HERE.
FITBIT Flex and Charge
Full disclosure; I’m a Fitbit owner. The Fitbit Flex was my first ever fitness band purchase, and it’s still the one I wear all the time. Recently I was able to try out the Charge, the newer band with a couple more bells and whistles than the basic Flex; namely a watch on the band. They track steps, calories burned, and distance travelled. The Fitbit Charge also tracks floors climbed, and has the added benefit of a display face you can also use as a watch.
I also showed you the wireless scale; the Fitbit Aria. It’s a simple and easy to use scale, that will automatically upload your weight and body fat (if you weigh-in in bare feet!) to your Fitbit app. A handy way to keep tabs on your step goal progress.
The Jawbone UpMOVE falls into my category of fitness trackers that can be separated from their bands and/or clips and moved wherever you want so they can be hidden. A great option if you’re going to a fancy dinner and don’t want people gawking at your rubber wrist band. The band encourages you to “Get fit, lose weight and have fun doing it. UP MOVE comes in a bunch of brilliant colors that you can mix and match with accessories. Clip it on and wear it anywhere. And with an LED display and Smart Coach to guide you, the UP MOVE tracker doesn’t just count your steps and track your sleep—it gets you over the hump and moving on your path to a better you.” This device tracks activity like steps and distance, as well as sleep.
I LOVE the simple beauty of this band, called the Shine (pictured above). The lights are like a subtle constellation, and the band is smooth and won’t catch on anything, it’s easy to wear, light and very easy to forget you have on. The app is easy to read and understand, and while it measured calories on par with what some other bands did, I found it under-counted steps and distance, compared to other bands like the Fitbit. It should be noted this band has not been calibrated, as I was unable to figure out on my own how to do it. Watch for a more detailed review here soon. One aspect I DO like about the Shine; you can hide the tracking disc in jewelry, tuck it in your bra, or sock, and no one will know you’re wearing one.
The Basis Peak was one of the only fitness bands I tried that had a built in heart rate monitor. I loved it, and according to the other heart rate monitor I usually use (on the treadmill at the gym) it’s just as accurate. I loved the subtle simplicity of the white-on-black watch face. In addition to heart rate, the Peak also counts all the usual stuff like steps and sleep. Peak automatically detects your sleeping cycles, including REM & deep sleep, which it says gives you in-depth data on the quality of your night’s sleep. The Peak automatically adjusts weekly goals based on your performance, and it comes with habit notifications on your phone or wrist when you’re on track or need a nudge, which is a nice addition to give you motivation. This device will also send your alerts and texts to your band, letting you stay in touch when you need to be.
Not only does the vivosmart track steps and movement, it also sends messages from your phone to your band. A light vibration lets you know you have alerts. Each time you receive a text, email or call on a compatible Bluetooth device, vívosmart gently vibrates and automatically displays the information. You just touch and swipe the screen to read more.
The Garmin Vivosmart was lent to me by MEC, where you can pick up one of your own.
The trackers above are all available at any number of stores in Canada, including Future Shop.
My pick is Fitbit; and for me it’s the Flex. I’ve been wearing it reliable and enjoyably for over 2 years now, and I have no plant to change. Click HERE to read more on Fitbit apps you’ll love, or click HERE for my review of the Fitbit Flex.
Do you have a favourite fitness band or device I should look at? Send me an email via my contact page or add one in comments below.