Now that the first two months of 2014 have passed, what do you say we check-in on that “getting fit” New Year’s resolution? Don’t worry, I’ll go first: I’ve failed miserably! For most of the country, the weather has been pretty atrocious. This would be a likely excuse, because I prefer to do my exercising outdoors. However, Phoenix is lovely this time of year, so I can’t even claim the “polar vortex” as my scapegoat! Even so, now that spring is just around the corner, I’m ready to take that resolution a bit more seriously.
And this year will be different. This year, I am planning to enlist some help. It’s 2014, and technology will be on my side! So in hopes of rescuing some of my resolution cred, I’ve researched some of the popular “fit bands” that are on the market. Studies are showing that this “wearable technology” is gaining market-share momentum, and others are saying fit bands are becoming a fashionable accessory! So, in hopes of staying a bit ahead of the curve, I’m sharing with you what I’ve learned.
The fit bands I’ve chosen to compare are the Fitbit Flex, Nike FuelBand and Garmin’s new VivoFit.
Let’s start with the Fitbit. At $99.95, the Fitbit Flex comes in black, slate, violet, lime and pink. Each Flex comes with a small and large band, and you can purchase interchangeable accessory bands ($14.95 each) to change up the color if you so desire. The Flex tracks your daily activity and syncs your stats wirelessly to your phone or computer. The Flex’s LED lights help you track progress on your daily goals — one light per 20 percent of your goal — whether that is a certain distance, calories burned, steps taken or active minutes. The Flex can also monitor your sleep cycle and reports on how long you sleep and the number of times you wake up. A feature unique to the Flex is that it includes a silent vibrating alarm to help you wake. (I should note that the similar Fitbit Force was recently recalled due to causing irritation and redness in some users.)
At $149, the Nike FuelBand SE comes in three sizes — small is recommended for most women — and is available in pink, red, yellow, black and silver. (There is a $20 up-charge for silver.) Unlike the Flex, FuelBands can display the time. The FuelBand tracks your activity throughout your day and the intensity of your workouts. Your activity earns you “Nike Fuel,” which is the unit that Nike uses to determine your daily activity and tracks progress to your daily goal. The FuelBand also allows you to track activity with little or no movement (like yoga, biking, or sleep) with Nike Sessions. You start a “session” (from your Nike+ app), and it adds the appropriate amount of Nike Fuel for the activity you’ve selected. FuelBand displays your progress in real time provides hourly reminders to help you to stay motivated to reach your daily goals.
Garmin’s Vivofit costs $129 and comes in black, blue, purple, teal and slate, and displays the time. Each Vivofit comes with a small and large band. You can also purchase interchangeable bands for $24.99 if you want to change up your Vivofit’s color to match your mood or outfit. The Vivofit tracks your steps, calories and distance and monitors your sleep. And you can track your stats and progress over time with the Garmin Connect website and app. One of Vivofit’s unique attribute is its ability to learns your current activity level. It then assigns an attainable daily goal, and as you meet your milestones, Vivofit will adjust your goal for the next day, gradually nudging you toward a healthier lifestyle. The Vivofit also incorporates a red “move bar” that appears when you’ve been inactive for too long. Another nice feature of the Vivofit is that the battery lasts up to a year, while other bands need to be charged every week or two.
Honestly, all three seem to be fairly similar and all include a social feature (so you can compete and compare with your friends if they are using them too), but each has its own unique aspect as well. As for me, I haven’t decided which will work best for me. But I hope what I’ve learned might help any other people out there who have been slacking a bit on their 2014 fitness resolutions! Best of luck as we continue on into 2014!