My Nike+ FuelBand

healthVirginia Hart4 Comments
Like most people, one of my personal resolutions is to focus on my health and fitness. And there is one glaring problem with my daily lifestyle that I hope to address. Ladies & gents, I sit too much. Not only is my day job sedentary, so are many of my hobbies: blogging, illustrating, calligraphy design, etc. As a child, you are praised for the ability to sit still for a long time...but as an adult, we need to think differently. If you are unaware of all the health downsides & risks of a sedentary lifestyle, check out this article in Women's Health.

Seeing as I don't plan on switching careers and/or personal interests, I have to counteract all that sitting with...moving! I think we (myself included) are unaware just how detrimental immobility can be, especially if we're eating the amount of calories recommended for someone much more active. Basically, an hour at the gym isn't going to cut it if the other 23 hours are spent hunched over your keyboard/on the couch/in bed/in the car/subway/eating.

How do I plan on integrating more "movement" into my day-to-day? Living in Manhattan, I have the advantage of forcing myself to walk more. I don't own a car and fully rely on public transportation which means I can get off the subway at an earlier stop and take 20 minutes to walk the rest of the way home. I can get up from my desk more during the day and choose to tackle a few errands during the work week that require me to walk for a bit. I can also always walk the subway escalators instead of just standing and I can make sure I take advantage of any opportunity to exercise, walk, move.

The problem with all of this is finding a way to really track it. Which brings me to my newest gadget, my Nike+ FuelBand! 

I'd like to tell you what I've learned so far... 

A Nike+ FuelBand is a bracelet you wear that tracks daily activity with something called a triaxial accelerometer that measures arm movements in order to calculate the number of paces you take or, for example, whether you are running or walking. Unlike a pedometer, the band can identify different activities and uses an algorithm to convert that activity into fuel. (i.e. Running gives you more fuel than walking.)

What all counts as daily activity?

(*I've heard that if you are biking, it's better to switch the bracelet to your ankle/shoe.) 

You have the option of three different colors.

As you can see in the first photo above, I chose the ice/white/clear version and I bought it at my local Apple Store. While the black version would hide dirt better, I figured the ice version would appear less bulky when paired with my other arm candy. Priorities, people! ;)

They come in different sizes and each size also comes with an extra link as well as a removable link to truly enable the perfect fit for your wrist size. I went with the small and actually took out the link since my wrists are teeny tiny -- the kit comes with a little tool you can use to custom fit your band.

Directions are also enclosed in the box to help you set up and configure your band. You can unhook your FuelBand and plug it directly into your computer or use the USB cable included in the kit. During the set-up process, you will create a profile with your weight & height as well as your goal for daily fuel. You will also tell it if you are wearing the band on your left or right wrist. The system recommends 2,000 fuel points for an inactive day, 3,000 points for an active day, and 5,000 points for a really active day. The advantage of fuel being the amount by which you measure your progress is that it's a level playing field across individuals. 

By pressing the single button on the band, it will tell you your fuel amount, calories burned, steps taken, and the time. By holding down the button, it will allow you to sync your band to your computer or phone (a free app) which will show you graphs of your daily activity as well as other progress reports and "trophies" for conquering different levels. You can also compete with friends who have the band! To charge the band (you only have to do so every few days), you can simply plug it back into your computer or USB cable.

What are some downsides I've noticed? While you can wear your band in the shower, it isn't waterproof "enough" for swimming. If you're walking and your arm is pressed inside your pocket and not moving, it won't calculate as much fuel as when your arm is swinging. A con of the colder seasons, I suppose. I don't pay close attention to the calorie amount because it doesn't take into account calories you naturally burn throughout the day nor can it tell if, for example, you have a 15-pound weight in your hand when you're moving your arm. Therefore, weight lifting and certain exercises (squats, etc.) might not allow the band to accurately depict what you're burning. However, the graphs do seem to match up to my levels of exertion throughout the day. Let's just say it's very clear when I am sprawled out watching Friends reruns versus sweating it out in bootcamp :)

It starts in the red at the beginning of the day (resets at midnight) 
and you want to get to the green.

Bottom line is that I am really enjoying the ability to track my daily activity. It's nice to see when I am reaching my goals, but also to see when I am not...and to realize that it's 3PM and I am not where I need to be and I need to do something about it. While it's unclear whether or not I'll be as amped about this in 6 months, I think this is exactly what I need right now to reevaluate and improve my daily lifestyle. Gotta get my groove move on!

I hope this little post was helpful to anyone considering buying the Nike+ FuelBand. You can see more here. I'm off to tally up some fuel points... :)

until next time,