Fitbit Fitness Trackers

Wearable technology devices are the new “it” product. Apple has created the Apple Watch, which does way more than tell time. The watch can run many different apps, track your fitness as well as make phone calls and send text messages. Another popular wearable technology today is the Fitbit. The Fitbit is offered in many different styles and has many different features. The most recently released version of the Fitbit, the Fitbit Blaze has a wide variety of features. The watch can track your heartrate, give you workout summaries, notifications such as calls and text messages, can track your various types of workouts from cross country running to weight training, can control your music and track your sleep patterns (fitbit.com).

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3k3DNT54NkA

This technology has come a long way since the once popular pedometer which only counted the amount of steps you took in a day. The new technologies track many more things and are much more helpful than the pedometer was. Tracking heart rate and sleep patterns can be very beneficial to users. Tracking your heart rate can reveal a lot of information about the user’s overall health. If your heart is beating too much for your age and weight it can be a good signal that something is wrong. Tracking sleep is another very common feature on fitbits as sleep is a vital part of a person’s health and wellbeing.

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The way sleep is tracked varies by device, some just track hours slept while others can track how many minutes you have spent restless throughout the night. It is believed that 8 hours of sleep a night is beneficial for most people. Those that get the most sleep are thought to be more productive and enjoyable people. These devices help tell users how much sleep they are actually getting a night by letting users know how many hours a night they spend in REM sleep or restless. Some devices also check calorie intake, have GPS features, and can track user’s blood pressure which is all very helpful (www.wearable-technologies.com).

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(Fitbit Flex: How A Bracelet Can Help You Get Lean http://www.joelminden.com/)

All of the information the fitbit tracks get sent wirelessly to your smartphone or synced to your computer. This allows you to track your progress and see all of your information daily. The above photo shows a screenshot of how the tracked information is displayed.

The fitbit can also be an extremely social device. The app allows you to connect with friends and family who have fitbits to stay up to date on progress and to motivate others. This has been proven to be very beneficial to users. There are also various challenges and “trophies” users can get when they reach certain milestones in their activity and fitness progress.

Studies have shown that this sort of fitness tracking has been proven to modify users behaviors, especially physical fitness. A study done by Julie B. Wang,  Lisa A. Cadmus-Bertram, Loki Natarajan, Martha M. White, Hala Madanat, Jeanne F. Nichols, Guadalupe X. Ayala and John P. Pierce researched the effects of wearable tracking devices like the Fitbit and text messaging prompts on user’s physical activity in overweight adults. Sixty seven overweight adults wore a Fitbit tracker for 6 weeks, half also received 3 daily physical activity related text messages. The study found that the Fitbit caused a small increase in physical activity for users (Wang et al, 2015).

The Fitbit is a great new technology that can help users track various things, from hours slept to tracking their outdoor runs. It can also help users increase their physical activity through users social networks by connecting with friends and family who also have a fitbit and by rewarding users with “trophies” when they reach a new step milestone or reach a goal. The Fitbit might one day be a very useful tool in the health industry.

 

References:

https://www.fitbit.com

https://www.wearable-technologies.com/2016/04/what-tracking-metric-do-you-care-about/

http://www.joelminden.com/fitbit-flex-how-a-bracelet-can-help-you-get-lean/

Wang, J. B., Cadmus-Bertram, L. A., Natarajan, L., White, M. M., Madanat, H., Nichols, J.F., Ayala, G.X., Pierce. J.P., (2015). Wearable sensor/device (Fitbit One) and SMS text-messaging prompts to increase physical activity in overweight and obese adults; A randomized controlled trial. Telemedicine and E-Health. 21 (10), 782-792.

 

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Fitbit Fitness Trackers

Wearable Technology

Wearable technology is a trend that is picking up speed among many. One in six people who have heard about wearable technology are using them, 61 percent of these users are wearing fitness bands (Nielsen.com). This trend has grown in popularity since their original release in 2006 with the advent of wearable fitness trackers. In 2006 Nike and Apple partnered to create Nike+iPod. This device was placed in your shoe and tracked time, calories burned and distance ran or walked (sharecare.com). The Fitbit Tracker was launched later and clipped to your clothing, it tracked steps, and calories burned, the intensity of activity and the wearers sleep patterns. All of the tracked information could be viewed online. The Fitbit later expanded with more complex clips and wristbands. The invention of the Fitbit and other wearable technology has inspired the creation of things like Google Glass (sharecare.com). Wearable technology hit its critical mass with the announcement of the Apple Watch. After this announcement every technology company such as Intel, Microsoft and Samsung had a similar device for sale. This saw an increase in interest from users, investors and entrepreneurs. Wes Henderek, an industry analyst with the NPD group stated, “It really signals that the fitness tracker category has finally penetrated the mass market.” This product now appealed to everyone not just fitness buffs (cnet.com).

 

Before these technologies those who wanted to track their fitness and physical activity used devices called pedometers. The invention of the pedometer can be traced back all the way back Leonardo da Vinci. Da Vinci designed a device that could track someone’s movement with a moving pendulum that is carried on the walkers back. Years later Thomas Jefferson introduced a device, the pedometer that he got in France. Pedometer have since then been used to track and promote users activity. Pedometers were viewed as practical and acceptable tools for measurement and motivation of physical activity (Tudor-Locke).

 

The Fitbit has taken the idea of a pedometer and improved upon it greatly. Fitbit devices can track not only steps taken but how many hours you sleep at night and your heart rate. Fitbit offers nine different devices that people can use to track their activity. The Fitbit charge tracks users all day activity, steps taken distance, calories burned floors climbed and total activity minutes. The charge displays the time, caller ID and can be used as an alarm clock (fitbit.com/charge). Fitbit’s newest technology, the fitbit blaze, offers many more options. The blaze can detect your heart rate at rest and during activity, offers step by step instructions on workouts, map your routes for runs, and can show texts, calendar events and calls (fitbit.com/blaze).

Of the 19 million Fitbit users (expandedramblings.com) the majority of users are young adults. Half of the fitness band owners are aged 18-34. Men and women are equally likely to wear fitness bands, while women are more likely to monitor their health with the device. Outside of the use of wearable technology the number of people using fitness applications on their smartphones has increased. Almost one third of all smartphone users have apps in the fitness and health category (Nielsen.com). The following graphs show a breakdown of wearable fitness tracking devices.

 

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http://expandedramblings.com/index.php/resource-how-many-people-use-the-top-social-media/

 

http://www.nielsen.com/us/en/insights/news/2014/hacking-health-how-consumers-use-smartphones-and-wearable-tech-to-track-their-health.html

 

https://www.sharecare.com/health/health-apps-and-wearables/slideshow/wearable-health-trackers-timeline

 

http://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED470689.pdf

 

http://www.cnet.com/news/fitbit-files-for-100m-initial-public-offering/

Wearable Technology

Fitness Tracking

Fitbit is an American company headquartered in San Fransisco California. Fitbit is best known for its line of wearable technology, also called the Fitbit, that users can wear to track the amount of steps taken, hours slept, minutes active per day and much more. The company was founded in 2007 and released their first fitness tracking device later that year. Today there are almost 10 different wearable technology products Fitbit sells that allows their users to track their movement and much more. Each device has different features that allows their users to track everything from steps taken to minutes spent restless at night.

Fitness tracking has been around for longer than many people may think, but the way in which people tracked their activity has changed very much. People once had to log their activity manually either on paper or into a computer database but beginning in the early 80s and 90s bicycles had systems that could track distance and athletes started to wear heart rate monitors while exercising. Heart rate monitors could be found on almost all gym equipment by the early 2000s and wearable fitness computers were starting to become popular in 2006. This was only the start to a technology that is continuing to grow.

Fitness tracking devices can be viewed as updated versions of pedometers. Pedometers only tracked the number of steps taken while fitness tracking devices can track much more. Over the years different technologies were developed to try and track more activity than just steps taken per day. A few years ago Apple and Nike paired to create a sensor that could be placed in user’s shoes to track their workout information such as time elapsed, and calories burned. There have also been many pedometer applications created for smartphones that users could download onto their phone that would track their steps as well as distance traveled and calories burned. These technologies have advanced greatly over the years and can now track your heart rate, let you know when you have been inactive for too long and even set off a silent alarm to make sure you are awake in the morning.

One of the most popular forms of activity trackers today are those that can be worn. Wearable technology, also known as wearables or fashion electronics, are pieces of clothing or accessories that incorporate computers with advanced electronic technologies. This makes technology more persuasive because it is now being integrated into your everyday life. Since the development of wearable technology innovators have tried to enhance the function of clothing to provide users with their recorded activity by tracking movement, steps and heart rate.

Different forms of wearable technology allows users to pick the kind that best suits them and their activity level. For example the Fitbit Charge tracks users all day activity, hours slept at night and shows all of your stats on your device screen. This would be good for users who don’t spend the majority of their time dedicated to being active but would like to make sure they are reaching their daily goals. A device for the more active users could be the Fitbit Surge. The Surge has GPS tracking, monitors users heart rate, track runs, bicycle rides and other forms of workouts.

Fitbit’s and other forms of wearable fitness technology can have different effects on different users. For the users who are trying to get more active and lose weight seeing their statistics everyday might influence them to take the stairs to work everyday rather than the elevator, and might influence the marathon runner to run a little further every day.

 

Fitness Tracking