The world of health and fitness is filled with trends. This diet or that diet, this exercise or that exercise. It seems that with every passing day, the key to optimal health and fitness is something different. And while most of these trends have no foundation and simply cannot replace a healthy diet and hard work, a few of them are at least somewhat legitimate and deserve a mention. If your trendiest and most health-conscious friend happens to be the same person, then you have probably already heard about the newest fad in fitness: the fitness bracelet.
A number of companies, including Jawbone, FitBit, and Nike, are now offering fitness bracelets. Far removed from the played-out, flimsy yellow plastic fashion statement wristband of yesteryear created by one of the biggest liars and cheaters in sports history, these new fitness bracelets actually offer useful and tangible information as well as style. If knowledge is power, then these bracelets will give you information on the status of your health that could empower you to make better informed decisions and reach your health and fitness goals.
So what exactly do these fitness bracelets do? Well, for a seemingly innocuous little wristband, actually quite a bit. This is one of those times when “technology is cool, man” as these wristbands provide detailed information on your exercise, diet, and sleep habits in a thorough, new, and unique way. A doctor can only know so much, after all, especially since you only see him or her a few times a year. But these new fitness bracelets spend every second of every day with you, and can be a very valuable tool.
In terms of diet, the fitness bracelets sync with your smartphone and allow you to enter the foods you’ve eaten in a given day, so it keeps a running tally of calories consumed. This is very helpful information no matter what your fitness goals are, and having an easy and handy way to track calories consumed is of critical importance. The bracelets also take into account your height, weight, age, and other factors to give you an approximate number of calories you burn each day as well. It is important to keep in mind that “calories burned” are just estimates, and that the actual number of calories a person burns is basically impossible to measure outside of a controlled lab. The same goes for the treadmills and elliptical machines at the gym that give you some arbitrary number of calories supposedly burned while exercising on the machine. Just know that while helpful, these are just estimates.
Fitness bracelets also keep track of various forms of exercise and movement, from steps taken in a day, to distance traveled, to the number of minutes you’ve spent active. This can be helpful, especially for activities that occur outside of a gym. Known as NEAT (non exercise activity thermogenesis), fitness bracelets help you keep track of the amount of “non-exercise exercise” activities that we all engage in. From mowing the lawn to doing dishes to pulling weeds to vacuuming, and even things like fidgeting, typing, tapping your foot, and chewing gum, if you’re moving then calories are being burned. All of these little, seemingly meaningless activities can really add up over time, which the fitness bracelets help you to track.
Lastly and perhaps most cool, fitness bracelets also have great benefits when it comes to sleep. An often overlooked and under-monitored part of health, fitness bracelets provide sleep information like how often you wake up during the night and how long and how well you sleep. Perhaps even cooler, you can set your alarm clock on the bracelet to not only wake you up silently with a gentle vibration (that won’t disturb your partner), the bracelets also know to wake you up during the proper part of sleep in order to not disturb your sleep cycles. When we sleep, we go through different cycles, and being woken up during a deep sleep cycle can leave you feeling disoriented and poorly rested, even if you’ve gotten plenty of hours of sleep. When you wake up during your sleep cycle can have a huge affect on mood and mental performance, and the bracelets help to optimize this.
Overall, these bracelets won’t in and of themselves cause you to lose weight, eat better, or sleep better. But knowledge is power, and the bracelets will definitely provide you with a good amount of quality information that could definitely help you achieve your health and fitness goals. Most bracelets typically retail for between $100 and $150, which is a small price to pay for the wealth of information they provide. The bracelets are a case of technology being applied to health and fitness, so in that sense they’re definitely a good thing. And because they come in a variety of stylish colors, you don’t have to choose between form or function; you get both. Ultimately nothing replaces hard work and dedication, but these new fitness bracelets now on the market at least allow you to be a better informed eater, exerciser, and sleeper. They won’t help you work harder, but will help you work smarter at meeting your goals in these specific areas of health.
Article Courtesy: Andrew Steingrube
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