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Tech Talk

Get-up-and-go gadgets

11/13/2013

With the passing of daylight savings time and two gluttonous holidays approaching, maintaining a healthy lifestyle becomes nearly impossible. As easy as it may be to give in to winter laziness, there is an entire niche industry of tech gadgets designed to keep the susceptible on the path to good health.

In the past five years, the health and fitness world has ridden the smartphone wave to help users monitor their activity levels. From diet-tracking applications, such as SparkPeople and MyFitness Pal, to phone-synced gadgets, such as Nike’s popular “Plus” line of products, technology can help people track every detail of their exercising efforts. The problem comes when deciding which tool to use. Most fitness apps are free but require serious dedication to update, whereas Nike’s products are exceptionally smart but expensive.

Thankfully there is a middle ground tool that offers the robust monitoring and syncing of Nike, with the versatility of standalone applications. For $130 the Jawbone UP activity bracelet is every bit the exercise tracker of Nike’s gadgets. It is a pedometer, workout tracker and sleep monitor, and it also allows users to incorporate third-party applications to extend their workout data to programs they’ve used before.

To spare oneself the shame of failing another New Year’s resolution, consider the Jawbone. While the Jawbone bracelet and UP app worked perfectly, visually displaying one’s sleep patterns and walking activity, it can be horrifying to discover how inactive you actually are. No amount of justifying a sedentary workday can cover up the ugly truth that little gadget uncovers.

Once synced with the UP app, Jawbone uses bar graphs to show the users’ daily step count, the duration and quality of sleep and breakdown of one’s diet by nutrition information.

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So users have two choices: Get inspired and go for a run, or give up and ask for seconds come Thanksgiving dinner, in which case, don’t bother with such gadgets. CV

Patrick Boberg is a central Iowa creative media specialist. For more tech insights, follow him on Twitter @PatBoBomb.

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