Review: Jawbone UP24 Fitness Tracker

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 The smart and sporty Jawbone Up24 is the most fashionable, lightweight and comfortable fitness tracking wearable you can buy, and it has a beautiful app to match.
Some functionality is sacrificed in the name of vanity. There’s no display on the device itself for on-demand workout stats or a web-based portal to chart the quantified self data it silently collects. All metrics have to be synced to an iOS or, as of this month, an Android app.

The good news is that Jawbone Up24 is able to wirelessly sync these accurate step and sleep quality numbers through Bluetooth. Now, as the Jawbone Up24 name suggests, this new version can truly be worn 24 hours a day without the need to take it off between syncs. Combined with the  its colorful app and newly released Android support, this is one of the top wellness motivators.

Design

The flexible Jawbone Up24 bracelet is coated with the same incredibly smooth non-latex rubber as its nearly identically designed predecessor. The company goes out of its way to say that this silky material is medical-grade and hypoallergenic, meaning it won’t give you a nasty rash like the recently recalled Fitbit Force.

Beneath this rubber layer, the bracelet has a spring-steel inner-core that gives it that deformation-resistant elasticity. Its solid design ends up being less malleable than the Fitbit Force wristband, but it’s even softer to the touch on the outside, an important feature for any wearable meant to be worn 24/7. Eye-catching OLED displays, the full gamut of metrics and colorful apps might turn heads, but any wrist-worn gadget has to be comfortable for these extras to be worth it.

Jawbone Up24 weighs in at just 20 grams. That means it’s easier to forget that you’re wearing it, compared to the Fitbit Force and the hard rubbered Nike FuelBand SE, both of which are 30 grams. It’s also more fashionable than its two fitness-focused rivals.

The textured bracelet is thinner than its more plain-looking competitors, measuring half an inch in the direction of forearm to hand. Compare that to the .75 inch width of the Fitbit Force. It’s tenths of an inch, but wholly beneficial when slipping on cuffed shirts or jackets. Constantly removing and attaching it won’t need to be part of your fitness routine.

The bracelet thickness actually narrows as it wraps around the wrist to two overlapping ends. These unique prongs provide 1.5 inches of security and stand out from the normal wristwatch clasp used in the Fitbit Force and other trackers. It’s also easier to put on and take off.

Jawbone Up24 comes in two colors: Persimmon (reddish orange) and Onyx (black).There are also three sizes again: small, medium and large to fit a variety of wrists.

At the store, you won’t need to break out the measuring tape, as the packing includes a clever plastic layer with a size-appropriate hole through the center. It can be lifted to see if your wrist fits. Jawbone offers a traditional print-out guide just in case you’re ordering online.he only two backlit icons underneath the non-latex rubber are a sun and a moon. They indicate activity and sleep mode. Everything else will have you back to the app.

App

Jawbone Up24 is lightweight, but its multilayered app is not. It’s full of rich color, helpful wellness tips plus detailed activity and sleep analysis.

Activity is represented by a vertical orange bar that shoots up with more physical movement. Tapping it reveals a horizontal 24-hour timeline that spikes vertically with hourly movement. It’s based on the number of steps taken and miles or kilometers traveled.

Additional ta6175604d26741f3a947cb9cce9fe9731-650-80bulations below the bar graph include active time, longest active time, longest idle time, total calories burned, active calories burned and resting calories burned. It’s almost the full spectrum of fitness metrics. Flights of stairs climbed is the one missing stat I’ve seen before elsewhere. Unlike the Fitbit Force, there’s no altimeter sensor packed into this tiny bracelet.

That’s okay because the Jawbone Up24 sensors for everything else are more accurate and customizable than its wearable peers. Fitbit Force, for example, likes to add five phantom steps for every 100 taken, skewing the numbers quite a bit by the end of the day. The Up24 didn’t do that, and it includes a “Calibrate Your Band” option deep within its settings menu to improve accuracy.

 

The app’s invitingly bright color and the overall better accuracy are a good motivator, but nothing gets you on your feet faster than a slap on the wrist. Its idle alerts are more like a joybuzzer than electroshock therapy, causing the bracelet to vibrate whenever you’re inactive for a set amount of time. It can be set to gently buzz your wrist every two hours all the way down to every fifteen minutes.

Idle alert reminders also include a start time and end time, so it should only buzz you during work hours, for example, and not when you’re at home watching a movie. Nike included this feature in its FuelBand SE bracelet, but its hourly “move reminders” don’t have the same idle time customization’s. Garmin Vivofit may be the only one to do it better with a red inactivity bar that visually grows throughout the set sedentary time period before the nagging begins.

The motivators don’t stop there. “Today I Will” challenges encourage you to get to sleep a few minutes earlier than the night before, drink all eight recommended glasses of water in 24 hours or walk a few additional steps by the end of the day. These personalized challenges are based on how well you’ve met your goals in the past week and make the whole Up system feel as if it’s getting to know you better than any other tracker.

Workout, pill-taking and custom tasks can be programmed in via the reminders menu that sends a notifications to both the phone and the bracelet. Finding teammates through your contact list, Facebook and Twitter can also fire you up. There’s room for comments, but this peer-to-peer motivation is more likely going to come from you seeing how much everyone else is obliterating your steps count in the well-laid out Up newsfeed.

Sleep tracking

Most gadgets keep us awake past our bedtime, but the Jawbone Up24 could actually help us catch more Zs. Its sleep tracking capabilities chart the traditional eight hours with dark blue, light blue and orange vertical bars on a timeline. This corresponds to you being sound asleep, restless and awake in bed.

The app’s sleep mode is surprisingly accurate for a fitness bracelet, going as far as reporting when it thinks you fell asleep and total awake time. Kicking the Jawbone Up24 into sleep mode requires pressing the device’s single button at the end of one of its overlapping prongs.

Sleeping on the job of switching it over to this mode isn’t a problem. You can still log unconscious hours manually, and the Up24 will even guess as to when you were asleep. It works far better than the FitBit Force’s sleep tracking, which is equivalent to a lot of tossing and turning.

Your partner in sleep will appreciate this: the Jawbone Up24 can replace a blaring alarm clock with its smart sleep alarms. Setting this “silent alarm” of sorts wakes you up with gentle vibrations that won’t disturb anyone else. A sleep window option from 10 to 30 minutes also makes it possible to avoid being woken up during deep sleep, making you less groggy in the morning.

Meal tracking

No one gets food logging quite right, but the Jawbone Up24 app comes close. That’s because it uses a barcode scanning in conjunction with an iOS or Android camera and a food product’s UPC code. There’s also the traditional nutritional database available.

Meals are tracked on the main screen with a green bar that sits next to the orange activity and purple sleep measurements. It’s given as much prominence as activity and sleep, but maintaining its presence by scanning or typing in a food and then figuring out how much has been consumed is tedious.

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Battery life

Bluetooth syncing has reduced the Jawbone Up24 battery life to a still-impressive seven days, down from the ten that the original had promised. That’s a fair exchange for the added wireless syncing functionality between the bracelet and app.

To make up for that, a real-time battery drain calculator is provided in the Jawbone Up24 app. It reads that there are “7 days left” right after a charge and, a week later, predicts “about a day” right before the bracelet needs to be plugged back in. That’s much better than a vague, slowly draining battery icon.

Not as straightforward is the fact that the Jawbone Up24 uses a 2.5mm stereo inline jack to charge. That’s the smaller headphone jack size that everyone hated about the original iPhone. While a 2.5mm-to-USB adapter is included so that the bracelet can be plugged into any USB port, the connector a measly four inches and very easy to lose.

Final Verdict

The Jawbone Up24 is one of the most inspiring fitness wearables that you can latch onto your wrist. It’s fashionable, lightweight design makes it easier to wear for a full 24 hours compared to its plain-looking, anchor-like competition. This doesn’t feel like you’re wearing a single handcuff. Better yet, the accurate activity and sleep tracking metrics make it useful both day and night.

It’s even more motivating when syncing all of this data to the bright-and-cheery Jawbone Up  app. Charting out steps and sleep quality explains where you’re making progress and where you’re letting yourself down. Your life is analyzed every swipe down to refresh.

The recent Fitbit Force recall makes the Jawbone Up24 the ideal choice among fitness tracking wearables by default. Even if that weren’t the case, this bracelet would have a slight edge given its more comfortable design, easier-to-read app and better accuracy, all of which drive a more informed if not healthier lifestyle.

Will Walking 10,000 Steps a Day Make You Fit?

 

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Wearable devices that monitor physical well-being and fitness are incredibly popular. The number sold is expected to increase from 17.7 million in 2014 to more than 40 million in the coming year.

Personally, I use the JawboneUP24  and have found it very useful for keeping track of my daily steps and sleep patterns. Most of these devices come set with a default goal of 10,000 steps a day, which is a number commonly associated with a basic or moderate level of fitness.

For instance, Japan’s Ministry of Health, Labour, and Welfare recommends walking 8,000 to 10,000 steps daily, while the UK National Obesity Forum recommends 7,000 to 10,000 daily steps to stay moderately active.

Recent research showed that wearing a fitness-tracking wristband (the FitBit One) did help overweight postmenopausal women increase their activity levels by nearly 40 minutes (and 789 steps) a week. Wearing a pedometer did not have such an effect.

However, if you’re committed to making your 10,000 steps a day, does that mean you’re on your way to becoming physically fit?

Walking 10,000 Daily Steps Is a Required Movement

Should you strive for 10,000 daily steps? Yes! I view this as a basic requirement for optimal health, like drinking adequate amounts of water each day. Your body is designed for frequent movement and many researchers are now starting to reemphasize the importance of walking.

According to Katy Bowman, a scientist and author of the book: Move Your DNA: Restore Your Health Through Natural Movement:

“Walking is a superfood. It’s the defining movement of a human.”

For example, one study found that walking for two miles a day or more can cut your chances of hospitalization from a severe episode of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) by about half.

Another study found that daily walking reduced the risk of stroke in men over the age of 60. Walking for at least an hour or two could cut a man’s stroke risk by as much as one-third, and it didn’t matter how brisk the pace was. Taking a three-hour long walk each day slashed the risk by two-thirds.

The elderly and those struggling with chronic disease that prevents them from engaging in more strenuous fitness regimens would also do well to consider moving around more. While walking is often underestimated, studies show you can reap significant health benefits from it.

However, as far as fitness goes, walking will only help you to get physically fit if you’re starting out very out of shape. Even then, as you get fitter, you will need to add exercise to your lifestyle, such as high-intensity interval training and strength training, to actually get fit.

 

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Walking Is Not a Form of Exercise…

I don’t view walking as an exercise at all but rather as an essential movement that we all require. The older you get the more important it becomes. You can be very athletically fit, but if you are sitting all day with minimal walking or movement, your health will most definitely suffer.Most don’t realize that walking burns the same amount of calories as running, it just takes longer.

But since walking isn’t exactly exercise, you can do it everyday without needing any recovery days for your body to repair and regenerate; it doesn’t tear down your body much, so it doesn’t require recovery time.

The downside is that walking won’t build your body up much either, unless, as mentioned, you are very unfit. For those who are fit, walking is a phenomenal maintenance activity that will allow you to be healthy into old age. Just be sure you have someone knowledgeable seriously analyze your posture..

I see many people walking and most of the elderly have terrible posture. They have lost much of their thoracic extension and are bent forward shuffling along. An excellent book that can help in this area is Natural Posture for Pain-Free Living by Kathleen Porter.

Many People Don’t Get Close to 10,000 Steps a Day

Taking 10,000 daily steps means you’ve walked about five miles or 9 kilometers. Many people do not get close to reaching this goal, which is why fitness trackers can be so useful. According to the UK’s National Health Service (NHS), the average person only walks between 3,000 and 4,000 steps per day.

I recommend using a pedometer, or better yet, one of the newer wearable fitness trackers, to find out how far you normally walk. At first, you may be surprised to realize just how little you move each day. Tracking your steps can also show you how simple and seemingly minor changes to the way you move around at work can add up.

You can break up your daily steps into any size increments that work for you. You might walk for one hour in the early morning, 30 minutes during your lunch hour and another hour in the evening. Or you might enjoy taking shorter 20-minute walks throughout your day.

Research even shows getting up and walking around for two minutes out of every hour can increase your lifespan by 33 percent, compared to those who do not.

Dr. James Levine, co-director of the Mayo Clinic and the Arizona State University Obesity Initiative, and author of the book Get Up! Why Your Chair Is Killing You and What You Can Do About It, actually recommends that you be up and moving for at least 10 minutes out of every hour.

Regular Daily Walking Helps to Counteract the Effects of Too Much Sitting

Part of what makes a goal of 10,000 steps a day so important is that it gets you up and out of your chair. Sitting for too long has been found to increase your risk of death from virtually all health problems, from type 2 diabetes and heart disease to cancer and all-cause mortality.

For example, sitting for more than eight hours a day is associated with a 90 percent increased risk of type 2 diabetes. The average American actually spends nine to 10 hours of their day sitting, and certain occupations, such as telecommunications employees, spend an average of 12 hours sitting each day.

For many years, exercise was promoted as the solution to this largely sedentary lifestyle. But while exercise, especially short bursts of high-intensity activity, is crucial to optimal health, research suggests it can’t counteract the effects of too much sitting.

In fact, chronic sitting has a mortality rate similar to smoking. The simplest way to avoid these negative health effects is to strive to sit less – ideally for less than three hours a day. A standing desk can help with this, as can frequent walking.

Dr. Levine’s investigations show that when you’ve been sitting for a long period of time and then get up, a number of molecular cascades occur. For example, within 90 seconds of standing up, the muscular and cellular systems that process blood sugar, triglycerides, and cholesterol—which are mediated by insulin—are activated.

All of these molecular effects are activated simply by carrying your own bodyweight. These cellular mechanisms are also responsible for pushing fuel into your cells and, if done regularly, will radically decrease your risk of diabetes and obesity. In short, at the molecular level, your body was designed to be active and on the move all day long.

Walking Is Good Medicine

Walking may not boost your cardiovascular fitness or muscle strength significantly the way more intense exercise does, but it does offer other significant benefits. Taking a walk during your lunch hour can have a significant impact on your mood and help reduce work-related stresses, for instance.

Walking was also found to improve quality of life for depressed middle-aged women. Those who averaged at least 2.5 hours of moderate-intensity exercise or just over 3.25 hours of walking each week reported feeling more energized and more social at their three-year follow up. They also reported feeling less pain.  For many people, fitting in 10,000 steps a day takes a concerted effort to move around more. You might try, for instance:

  • Taking walks while making phone calls (use a wired headset or your phone’s speaker function)
  • Walking a few laps around your office building before entering, and after leaving, the building
  • Using an evening walk as family time to catch up on your kids’ and spouse’s day
  • Having a walking buddy, such as a neighbor or even your dog, to keep you motivated

 

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How to Kick Your Walking Up a Notch

High-intensity interval training (HIIT) has been shown to be one of the best forms of exercise in terms of both effectiveness and efficiency. It involves brief periods of intense activity followed by periods of rest. Ordinary walking does not qualify as a high-intensity workout, but it can be tweaked into one. For the last decade, Dr. Hiroshi Nose and colleagues at the Shinshu University Graduate School of Medicine in Matsumoto, Japan, have developed walking programs for the elderly.

In light of the benefits associated with HIIT, Dr. Nose created a regimen of fast walking and gentle strolling, to see if this kind of program might provide greater fitness benefits than walking at a steady pace. The program consisted of repeated intervals of three minutes of fast walking, aiming for an exertion level of about six or seven on a scale of one to 10, followed by three minutes of slow strolling. The results turned out to be very promising. As reported by the New York Times:

“In their original experiment, the results of which were published in 2007, walkers between the ages of 44 and 78 completed five sets of intervals, for a total of 30 minutes of walking at least three times a week. A separate group of older volunteers walked at a continuous, moderate pace, equivalent to about a 4 on the same exertion scale. After five months, the fitness and health of the older, moderate group had barely improved. The interval walkers, however, significantly improved aerobic fitness, leg strength and blood-pressure readings.”

In December 2014, the team published a follow-up report on the participants, noting that 70 percent were still adhering to the walking program two years after the study ended, and the health benefits remained stable.

Walking Barefoot Adds Another Element for Good Health

If you can walk in a natural area, such as grass or on the beach, kick off your shoes while doing so. Walking barefoot on the sand or grass has additional benefits that go beyond that of walking, as this allows your body to absorb free electrons from the Earth through the soles of your feet, a practice known as grounding. These electrons have powerful antioxidant effects that can protect your body from inflammation and its many well-documented health consequences. For example, one scientific review published in the Journal of Environmental and Public Health concluded that grounding (walking barefoot on the earth) could improve a number of health conditions, including the following:15

Sleep disturbances, including sleep apnea Chronic muscle and joint pain, and other types of pain Asthmatic and respiratory conditions Rheumatoid arthritis
PMS Hypertension Energy levels Stress
Immune system activity and response Heart rate variability Primary indicators of osteoporosis Fasting glucose levels among people with diabetes

To recap, strive to get up and get moving often throughout your day; 10,000 steps is a good number to aim for and should be done in addition to your exercise program. While I do recommend fitness trackers, don’t let a lack of one keep you from moving. A pedometer can be equally effective for a fraction of the cost. For instance, researchers found that simply wearing a pedometer daily for 12 weeks led to a significant decrease in sitting time, and a significant increase in physical activity among the participants, who lost an average of 2.5 pounds each.

And, as mentioned, pay attention to proper posture while you walk. Kathleen Porter’s Natural Posture for Pain-Free Living is an excellent starting point if you feel your posture could use some improvement.

Source Adapted from: http://bit.ly/1IiTmZd

Yoga: Benefits, Intensity Level, and More Information

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Workout fads come and go, but virtually no other exercise is as enduring as yoga. It’s been around for more than 5,000 years.

Yoga does more than burn calories and tone muscles. It’s a total mind-body workout that combines strengthening stretching poses with deep breathing and meditation or relaxation.

There are more than 100 different forms of yoga. Some are fast-paced and intense. Others are gentle and relaxing.

Examples of different yoga forms include:

Hatha. The form most often associated with yoga, it combines a series of basic movements with breathing.

Vinyasa. A series of poses that flow smoothly into one another.

Power. A faster, higher-intensity practice that builds muscle.

Ashtanga. A series of poses, combined with a special breathing technique.

Bikram. Also known as “hot yoga,” it’s a series of 26 challenging poses performed in a room heated to a high temperature.

Iyengar. A type of yoga that uses props like blocks, straps, and chairs to help you move your body into the proper alignment.

Intensity Level: Varies with Type

The intensity of your yoga workout depends on which form of yoga you choose. Techniques like hatha and iyengar yoga are gentle and slow. Bikram and power yoga are faster and more challenging.

Areas It Targets

Core: Yes. There are yoga poses to target just about every core muscle. Want to tighten those love handles? Then prop yourself up on one arm and do a side plank. To really burn out the middle of your abs, you can do boat pose, in which you balance on your “sit bones” (the bony prominences at the base of your pelvic bones) and hold your legs up in the air.

Arms: Yes. With yoga, you don’t build arm strength with free weights or machines, but with the weight of your own body. Some poses, like the plank, spread your weight equally between your arms and legs. Others, like the crane and crow poses, challenge your arms even more by making them support your full body weight.

Legs: Yes. Yoga poses work all sides of the legs, including your quadriceps, hips, and thighs.

Glutes: Yes. Yoga squats, bridges, and warrior poses involve deep knee bends, which give you a more sculpted rear.

Back: Yes. Moves like downward-facing dog, child’s pose, and cat/cow give your back muscles a good stretch. It’s no wonder that research finds yoga may be good for relieving a sore back.

Types

Flexibility: Yes. Yoga poses stretch your muscles and increase your range of motion. With regular practice, they’ll improve your flexibility.

Aerobic: No. Yoga isn’t considered as aerobic, but the more athletic varieties, like power yoga, will make you sweat. And even though yoga is not aerobic, some research finds it can be just as good as aerobic exercise for improving health.

Strength: Yes. It takes a lot of strength to hold your body in a balanced pose. Regular practice will strengthen the muscles of your arms, back, legs, and core.

Sport: No. Yoga is not competitive. Focus on your own practice and don’t compare yourself to other people in your class.

Low-Impact: Yes. Although yoga will give you a full-body workout, it won’t put any impact on your joints.

 

What Else Should I Know?yoga_books1

Cost. Varies. If you already know your way around a yoga mat, you can practice for free at home. Videos and classes will cost you various amounts of money.

Good for beginners? Yes. People of all ages and fitness levels can do the most basic yoga poses and stretches.

Outdoors. Yes. You can do yoga anywhere, indoors or out.

At home. Yes. All you need is enough space for your yoga mat.

Equipment required? No. You don’t need any equipment because you’ll rely on your own body weight for resistance. But you’ll probably want to use a yoga mat to keep you from sliding around in standing poses, and to cushion you while in seated and lying positions. Other, optional equipment includes a yoga ball for balance, a yoga block or two, and straps to help you reach for your feet or link your hands behind your back.

There are many types of yoga from the peaceful hatha to the high-intensity power yoga. All types take your workout to a level of mind-body connection. It can help you relax and focus while gaining flexibility and strength. Yoga can also boost your mood.

Even though there are many instructional books and DVDs on yoga, it is well worth it to invest in some classes with a good instructor who can show you how to do the postures.

Chances are, there’s a type of yoga that suits your needs and fitness level. It’s a great choice if you want a holistic approach to mind and body strength.

Yoga is not for you if you like a fast-moving, competitive workout. Be open-minded, since there are physical and mental benefits you can gain by adding some yoga into your fitness plan, even if it isn’t your main workout.

 

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Is It Good for Me If I Have a Health Condition?

Yoga is a great activity for you if you have diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or heart disease. It gives you strength, flexibility, and mind-body awareness. You’ll also need to do something aerobic (like walking, biking, or swimming) if you’re not doing a fast-moving type of yoga.

If you have high blood pressure, diabetes, or heart problems, ask your doctor what you can do. You may need to avoid certain postures, like those in which you’re upside down or that demand more balance than you have right now. A very gentle program of yoga, coupled with a light aerobic activity like walking or swimming, may be the best way to start.

Do you have arthritis? Yoga can help you stay flexible and strong without putting added stress on your joints. You get the added benefit of a mind-body approach that can help you relax and energize.

If you’re pregnant, yoga can help keep you relaxed, strong, and in shape. If you’re new to yoga or have any health or pregnancy related problems, talk to your doctor before you give it a try. Look for an instructor who’s experienced in teaching prenatal yoga.

You’ll need to make some adjustments as your baby and belly grow and your center of gravity shifts. After your first trimester, don’t do any poses that have you lying on your back. And don’t try to stretch any further than you did before pregnancy. Your pregnancy hormones will loosen up your joints and make you more likely to get injured.

While you’re pregnant, avoid postures that put pressure on your belly or low back. Don’t do “hot” yoga, where the room temperature is very high.

 

Source: http://wb.md/1PgQh24