Tech Talk: Get-up-and-go Gadgets

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With the passing of daylight savings time, and two of the more gluttonous holidays approaching, maintaining a healthy lifestyle becomes nearly impossible this time of year. As easy it may be to give in to winter laziness, there is an entire niche industry of tech gadgets designed to keep the susceptible on the path to good health.

In the past five years the health and fitness world has ridden the smartphone wave to help users monitor their activity levels. From diet tracking applications such as SparkPeople and MyFitness Pal to phone-synced gadgets such as Nike’s popular “Plus” line of products, technology can help you track every detail of your exercising efforts. The problem comes when deciding which tool to use. Most fitness apps are free, but require serious dedication to update, whereas Nike’s products are exceptionally smart but expensive.

Thankfully there is a middle ground tool that offers the robust monitoring and syncing of Nike, with the versatility of standalone applications. For $130 the Jawbone UP activity bracelet is every bit the exercise tracker of Nike’s gadgets -it’s a pedometer, workout tracker, and sleep monitor- and it also allows users to incorporate third party applications to extend their workout data to programs they’ve used before.

Hoping to save myself the shame of failing another new years resolution, I decided to test out the Jawbone this past week. While the Jawbone bracelet and UP app worked perfectly -visually displaying my sleep patterns and walking activity- I was horrified at how inactive I am. No amount of justifying my sedentary workday can cover up the ugly truth that little gadget uncover.

Once synced with the UP application Jawbone uses bar graphs to show the users daily step count, the duration and quality of sleep, and it will breakdown your diet by nutrition information if the user is diligent enough to enter it.

As I see it there are only two choices a person can make at this time of year when faced with the reality of their inactivity; get inspired and go for a run, or give up and ask for seconds come Thanksgiving dinner.

Patrick Boberg is a central Iowa creative media specialist. For more tech insights, follow him on Twitter @PatBoBomb


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