Anyone that knows me will say that I am not the most active of people. If I can, I will spend all day with my feet up watching TV. It is true that I bought myself a bicycle a few years ago that gets me out of the house. Everyone thought that this now meant that I was leading an active life at last. But, if truth be told, I was using the bicycle mainly to ride to the local shops or to buy food. Short trips that I previously had done on foot. Yes, I was doing longer rides that I had previously done by car, but these weren’t every day. That has all changed now that I am using UP by Jawbone.
UPDATE – 26th June 2015: Jawbone UP2 has now been released in Thailand. Read First Look at UP2 Fitness Tracker in Thailand.
UP is a wristband that you wear 24/7, even in the shower. It basically monitors your activity and sleep patterns and then gives you feedback based on this in an app on your smartphone. When I first signed up, I had to enter my age, height and weight. I was then given a daily target of 10,000 steps and 8 hours of sleep. I have used apps like this before. There is a free one on iOS called Move that I used for a week or so before giving up. The difference with UP is that you are wearing a wristband that constantly reminds you of your goals. When I sync my wristband with the app and see that I have only reached 75% of my daily target, I am then encouraged to go out for a walk just so that I will reach 100%.
When you sync your wristband with your smartphone you then get a chart like this. As you can see, on this particular day I surpassed my daily goal by reaching 110%. I did 11,048 steps which is apparently the equivalent of 8.87 kilometers. During the day I try to keep as active as I can even though I work at the computer for many hours. The wristband has an “idle time” feature which I really like. I set this for 30 minutes. When it senses that I haven’t moved much for the specified time, this includes typing at the computer, it will vibrate. I then get up and take a short break from the computer by doing some walking exercise. You can set the idle time to shorter or longer than this.
Another feature of the UP wristband is that it will also monitor your sleep patterns. When you go to bed, you press a button on the wristband that puts it into night mode. When you wake up in the morning and sync your wristband with your smartphone you get this chart. My goal was 8 hours of sleep and as you can see I only managed to do 84% of this. The orange on the chart is when I was awake and you can see it took me 12 minutes to fall asleep. If you get up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom you will see this on the chart. In the morning, the wristband will wait for you to be in light sleep before it starts to vibrate to wake you up. You just set the time you must be up by and then how far in advance you will allow the wristband to wake you up. A much better way to wake up.
What is interesting about this chart is the dark blue and light blue bars. This is deep and light sleep. The aim is to get at least three and a half hours of deep sleep per night. One time I managed to get eight hours of sleep but I didn’t feel refreshed when I woke up. Why? When I checked the graph I had only done about 2 hours of deep sleep. I have started playing meditation music when I go to sleep which has now increased my average deep sleep to 3.5 hours. I am trying to extend that more now by playing around with room temperature, pillows and bed sheets etc. In theory, if I can extend my deep sleep time to four hours I only need 5 or 6 hours of sleep per night.
Another feature is the “power nap”. This will allow you to have about 25 minutes of deep sleep and when it senses you are in light sleep the wristband will vibrate to wake you up. This helps keep your energy going during the day. The UP smartphone app also has an option to add information about your meals. You can do this easily by scanning the barcode or entering the name. It then gives you nutritional information. However, the street food culture in Thailand doesn’t make this feature easy to use. One final thing that I like is the teammate feature. The app allows you to search for friends on Facebook and twitter that also have an UP wristband. You can then share with them any data, though for me I only share my moves. What is good is that if you reach your daily target your teammates will send you words of encouragement that keep you going. It’s also interesting to compare move and sleep patterns with teammates who share everything.
I have been using the UP wristband in Thailand for two weeks now. For the last ten days I have been doing a juice detox. This together with doing 10,000 steps per day has meant that I have lost 5 kilos in weight. I am now at my optimum weight and I am no longer aiming to drop any more. But I will continue to use the wristband to help me maintain this weight by keeping active. When i’m getting lazy or going to bed too late, the wristband sends pop up messages to my smartphone with tips and suggestions. Last night it challenged me to go to bed by 8:45pm. The UP wristband has become a major part of my life and hopefully in six months time I will still be using it. Technology like this doesn’t come cheap, but I decided last year that buying equipment like this should really be seen as an investment in my health.
The suggested retail price for UP by Jawbone in Thailand is 4,990 Baht. It is available at shops like iStudio, dotlife, Jaymart, Power Buy, Ari, King Power, Power Mall amd Gizman stores. The UP24 was officially released in Thailand this month and is 6,290 Baht. This has the added benefit of syncing wirelessly with your smartphone. I will blog on this later when I get more information. It is advisable that you buy from an authorized seller in case you need the warranty. It is cheaper to buy on Amazon but they will add $66 import tax for Thailand.