People of all ages and fitness levels are sporting high-tech wristbands these days to keep track of their health statistics.
These wristbands, made by companies like Nike, Jawbone and Fitbit, can track wearers' sleep patterns, how many steps they take and the distance they cover, calorie intake if they log what they eat and even exercise. Most are water-resistant and are designed to be worn all day, every day.
The statistics collected by the wristband are then synced to smartphone apps or a computer.
Oklahoma City cardiologist Dr. Ron White has been using the Jawbone UP band since a friend gave him one to try. He knows whether he has walked 1 ½ miles or 3 miles throughout the day and would like to understand better the data the Jawbone gives him about his light or heavy sleeping.
The wristband “helps you keep track of what you ought to be doing and reminds you to keep going,” he said. “Its purpose is to make you feel guilty because you don't walk enough,” he said.
He added that a device like the Jawbone can be good to help motivate people to keep exercising.
“I think it has some psychological effect. Whatever works to get you out there and do it,” White said.
Edmond resident Leslie Lynch, an attorney, said wearing her Fitbit is very motivating. Since Aug. 2011, she's lost 58 pounds from exercising, reducing stress and eating better. Since she got the Fitbit recently, she lost the last six pounds of that as she pays close attention to her activity and food intake. In her downtown Oklahoma City office, about four or five other lawyers use the same device.
For awhile she was competitive with herself — she would try to earn badges for exceeding the 10,000 steps per day or, if she fell short of that goal, she could run extra on the treadmill or take the dog on a walk at the end of the day.
The Fitbit reminds her not to look for the closest parking place when she's going to the store, and she likes knowing how well she sleeps at night.
“It helps me to know if I'm stressed. It doesn't change how I sleep or anything, but it helps me understand why I may be more tired or understand my stress,” Lynch said.
These devices will likely be on many people's Christmas gift-giving or wish lists, and stores have stocked up in anticipation. And they appear to be one way to stay on top of exercising and eating healthy during the holidays filled with the temptation to overindulge.
Note to readers
I started writing “Get App-y” on Feb. 8, 2010, with a column on playing Words With Friends on my iPod Touch, the only device I had that used apps.
Since then, apps have proliferated across many different platforms, and technology has infiltrated how we live our everyday lives in ways that we didn't imagine three years ago.
I have loved seeing the creativity that technology has unleashed (and exploring some of the problems) and sharing these ideas with you, whether they came from Google Glass or Minecraft or another life-changing app.
Today is my last official Get App-y column for this space, since I am moving on to other adventures.
However, I will continue to write about technology from time to time.
Thanks for reading through the years.
It will be interesting to see where technology takes us from here, and The Oklahoman will continue to cover these issues in these pages.