by Rene Ritchie, Daniel Rubino, Kevin Michaluk, Phil Nickinson
I'm always looking for new ways to integrate technology into my life. Sometimes I might go a bit overboard, or buy a new gadget that I really didn't need (and that really doesn't work - looking at you, Shake Weight). But the application of new technology to a new part of my life often does have an impact. Sometimes there's an adjustment period, other times I'm off and running. When it comes to technology and fitness, I was literally off and running.
When it comes to fitness gadgets, I've tried just about every one. My house is littered with Fitbits and Jawbone Ups and Nike+ sensor pods that I had to put into special shoes with a matching cavity in the sole. After trying all of these devices, the one that really does it for me is the Nike+ FuelBand.
What made the FuelBand work for me is the gamification: it turns daily exercise into something like a game.
What really made the FuelBand work for me is the gamification aspect. It takes daily exercise and turns it into something like a game. The FuelBand is essentially a fancy wrist-mounted pedometer. It tracks how I move and when I move and translates that into easy-to-digest points. I have a points goal I strive to reach every day, and because this is a fancy pedometer it can sync with my computer (or iPhone) and send those points to Nike's website.
Suddenly this fancy pedometer wristband is not only egging me on to exceed my daily goal, but in sharing my consistency (or lack thereof) of reaching that goal with the world it's moved beyond just tracking and gamification to niche social networking. I can compete with my friends to see which of us can rack up the most impressive points total (or just meet our goals on a regular basis).
The Nike+ FuelBand is the fitness tracker for me, but it's not the best for everybody. I like that it keeps things simple, and with a push of a button I can get my current points progress. But it lacks the more in-depth analysis that any of Fitbit’s trio of trackers offers, and it can't monitor my sleep like the larger two Fitbits or Jawbone's Up.
Any fitness-tracking gadget I've slapped on my wrist has typically done the job that I hoped it would: tracking how I move throughout the day and motivating me to move more.