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The Milton Measure

Latest FitBit is a Hit

by Christina Lin on Friday, December 11th, 2015

Wearable technology is a familiar term by now. One particular kind of wearable technology that has garnered significant attention in recent years is the fitness band, or wearable band. According to CBS, last year alone, there were an estimated 19 million fitness bands in use, and the number is expected to grow. The market for fitness bands has now become quite competitive, with brands such as Fitbit, Jawbone, and Misfit taking the lead. The functions of these fitness bands have also become quite powerful: some basic functions include monitoring heart rate, tracking steps, calculating calories burnt, and detecting sleep patterns, but the newest bands, such as the Fitbit Surge, even feature GPS tracking.

The idea of using a device to monitor fitness performance is not new. The first wireless heart-rate monitor was made more than 20 years ago. So why are fitness bands suddenly experiencing such a surge in popularity? The answer lies in two words—Smartphone and personalization. The Smartphone has become a crucial part of our modern lifestyle. Therefore, the fitness band’s ability to synchronize with Smartphones is certainly convenient. Also, users love that their fitness bands can be programmed to track their unique diet or fitness regimen.

But do these fitness bands actually work? The answer is both yes and no, and the efficiency of bands varies significantly from brand to brand. The bands do work to some degree. For example, according to a study done by researchers at the University of Wisconsin, fitness bands can predict the number of steps the users take within 10 percent accuracy.

As for calories, however, none of the devices tested in the same study are accurate in recording calories burned. At the same time, there are many calorie-burning exercises that the device simply cannot account for (lifting dumbbells, for example), even if the user enters his or her height and weight information into the device.

Whether they work or not, I think fitness bands are still worth a try. The most important effect of the bands is that they keep people motivated. Researchers have found that people are 30 to 40 times more active when they use fitness bands; most fitness bands users would agree.

Personally, I have a hard time getting myself out of the house and getting a workout in, especially during summer vacation. With the fitness band in hand, however, I would be able to see how many days I have actually worked out. This visual alone may prompt me to get out and go for a run. The fitness band not only can help users get into the habit of doing workouts but also can give users an incentive to do better workouts. When it comes to running, for example, Fitbit Surge can calculate one’s split time and motivates one to run faster and longer.

Overall, I think there is some value to these fitness bands. Even if they are not one hundred percent accurate, they do a good job of keeping people moving, which is essential for individuals’ wellbeing. The whole point of using these fitness bands is to live a healthier life. In fact, I think I will be purchasing a fitness band for myself in the near future.

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Posted by Christina Lin on Dec 11 2015. Filed under More Opinion, Opinion, Recent Opinion. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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