The market isn’t there yet for fitness trackers for seniors, but you can sample some simple devices while it catches on.
Right now, the wearable market is in an all-out rush for the American dollar. Strangely, manufacturers aren’t rushing to get the senior dollar. Oh, they put out some simple, easy-to-use fitness trackers great for beginners, as well as some high-end devices that probably cost more than your first mortgage payment.
But no one is really making fitness trackers for seniors, yet. While fitness trackers typically measure your activity, track your calories, and help coach you along toward moving more, they don’t really have what seniors need: blood pressure, blood sugar, and heart-rate monitoring. Many of the more basic models don’t track sleep, either (although the Misfit Flash, discussed below, does). What’s more, in one study, seniors said current trackers are hard to calibrate and often lose data. Yet there is hope. A good basic tracker can give seniors a reality check. One study of women in their 50s and 60s, who were overweight and inactive, got the women moving, boosting their activity.
With all that in mind, take a look at four popular models can work out if you want to dip a toe in the market.
The newest version of the Jawbone UP2 is a simple activity tracker. It doesn’t track your heart rate, and it doesn’t have a display, but, what it lacks in on-board technology, it makes up for in its robust app, which features “smart coaching” to keep you motivated. The more you wear the band, the more it “learns” about you, enabling the smart coach to provide increasingly personalized advice to keep you on track in meeting your weight and fitness goals.
The device itself is small and light with a nifty design. It looks like a piece of jewelry. You’ll need to have your phone constantly handy to see your progress and check in with your coach. Jawbone also syncs with a ton of third-party apps. It’s not waterproof, though, so swimmers should look elsewhere.
In addition to activity tracking, the app offers mood, food, and drink tracking. Again, if you prefer a more robust calorie tracking app, Jawbone syncs with many. You can also customize your goals, set alerts to get up and move, join communities, and challenge friends.
The device does vibrate to get your attention. You then need to look at your phone to get the message. The device syncs wirelessly via Bluetooth Smart and has a battery life of about 7 days. The app is available for both Android and iOS.
November 16, 2017