Running is just one of the tools in your fitness toolbox. Running form, nutrition, cross training, and rest/recovery are some of the others. But you need to also know your body and your personal health data in parallel to make sure there are no surprises or how you can maximize your performance over the long term.
With the drop in prices and miniaturization of sensors, wearable technology is booming. In 2011 30 million devices were sold in the US, up 37% from 2011, and sales are expected to reach 160 million a year by 2017. The important thing to keep in mind is how these devices make the experience personal, non-intrusive and relevant.
Activity tracking for personal use started becoming main stream this year and within months, we will all be wearing multiple sensors to monitor our activity from pedometers to heart rate monitors (HRM) to GPS sensors. Many large corporations are already offering extra perks and premium discounts for active employees wearing activity trackers like the Nike Fuelband and Jawbone UP. Research shows that active healthy employees are more engaged, more productive, and happier.
The majority of these devices measure steps, distance, and calories. Some measure your sleep quality, heart rate, blood oxygen, skin temperature, and elevation climbed. Most devices are focused on certain aspects of fitness, exercise, or health – there is not a single device that measure and track every aspect of your personal health.
The form factor varies from a wristband to clip-on to a watch. Battery life also vary considerably – from 14 hours to one year! Some have a display, some have just lights, some have no display (smartphone app needed to display data). Surprisingly, prices have dropped significantly and a simple activity tracker can be had for under $60 with a high end price of $199 for watches like the Basis and MIO Alpha Heart Rate.
- LifeTrak C300 Move
- Misfit Wearables Shine
- Fitbit Flex
- Jawbone UP
- Nike Fuelband
- MIO Global Alpha Heart Rate
- Lark Life
- Withings Pulse
- Zensorium Tinke
- HeartMath Inner Balance
Apple iOS Apps
A full comparison matrix showing all the major features on the devices and Apple iOS apps that we are covering in the next 12 months can be found at “Fitness Devices & Activity Trackers Comparison Matrix“.