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DSB Review: Jawbone UP24

Back in June, my friend Christina showed me and Andy her Jawbone. Neither of us had heard of it before, but we couldn’t stop thinking about.

So in November when Andy’s mom asked us what we wanted for Hanukkah, the answer was easy: the new Jawbone UP24.

As an active person — I run and take Refine classes, and I walk to and from work (and home at lunch to walk my pup) every day — I didn’t think there would be much value in tracking my steps. I was more interested in the sleep component.

As it turns out, the Jawbone’s ability to track steps has become a huge part of my life, and changed my activity levels for the better. The social aspect of the Jawbone app is motivating and entertaining, and I love knowing exactly how many hours a night I sleep.

To make this review simple, I’ll break down my thoughts in categories.

Jawbone UP24

Image: www.uncrate.com

Step Tracking (Pedometer)
For a healthy adult, experts recommend 10,000 steps a day. I never cared about steps — As I mentioned, I run, I take Refine, I walk to work, etc.  What I learned about my own habits by wearing my Jawbone since November is that I easily take over 10,000 steps on a normal workday, but on weekends I fall far short. Relaxing is my favorite activity; I spend a lot of time on the couch!While a HIIT class like Refine comes with a multitude of health benefits, I don’t do very many actual steps there (though I get quite a lot on my way there and back!).

My Jawbone motivates me –  on weekends, I now make an effort to get my steps in. On snow days, I make an effort. On lazy vacation days, I make an effort.

Jawbone steps summary

Today’s steps – still a ways to go!

My friend Missy even ran up and down subway stairs last night at 11:30 pm to get 2,000 more steps in!

I can’t tell you how many nights Andy and I marched around our living room (sometimes I run back and forth) to get our steps in. We jog in place while watching TV. I take the dog on much longer walks than I would have on cold days to get my steps in. Sometimes, Andy and I go to the gym and walk on the treadmill just to get steps for the day — when we both would have easily been sitting on our asses doing nothing! We were just in Florida, and during the times we would have been lounging around, we instead set out to walk a couple laps of her community.

andy and grandma

Minor height difference

I can safely say the Jawbone has made a significant impact on my activity. I can’t believe how under-active I was (especially for someone who considers herself active). Sure, it sucks getting home, feeling tired and realizing I have to somehow fit in 5,000 more steps for the day — but I feel so much better after knowing I’m doing something positive for my health. As I say when I tweet about all my stepping adventures, #itworks.

App Praise
Along with the motivation from myself comes motivation from the iPhone app itself. The Jawbone praises me when I have successful streaks of 10,000 steps or more. Three days, five days, 21 days! I’m addicted to the praise! However, the praise stopped coming after 21. Now that I am on a streak of well over 50 days, I’m committed to making it to 100 out of pure curiosity — will the app praise me then?

The app also celebrates milestones, like the day I hit 1,000,000 steps. It’s fun.

Social Aspect
And then there are my friends. I can see how many steps they take and they can see how many I take. When any of my friends hits 10,000, I submit to them  happy emoticon through the app (there are two emoticon options  and they are pretty funny looking). If they fall under their goal, I either ignore it or give them the unhappy face (I do the same for their sleep).

I like knowing my friends can see my steps because it provides greater motivation to be awesome. My friend Ellen gets 30,000 steps all the time, so that motivates me. And I want to impress my friends!

My friend Christina’s mom is my Jawbone teammate (that’s what they call friends) and she is always impressed by my activity, which is just my day to day walking. Wait til she sees me marathon training! On that note, I’m excited to see how many steps a marathon is.

Dori and Missy in 2008

Me and Missy in our prettier days of 2008.

I have two favorite parts of the social aspect:

1. Missy.
SHE IS HILARIOUS. Every weekend, I wake up to see her well over 10,000 steps for the day. That is because she goes out dancing until the wee hours of the morning.  Then I check back later because I know her sleep will be short — about four hours — and very choppy, a mix of wakefulness and sleep. In sum, Missy is my #1 source of entertainment.

2. Andy.
I can tell if Andy walked the dog or not based on how many steps I see he’s taken. Knowledge is power.

Sleep Tracking
Jawbone sleep
The real reason I wanted a Jawbone in the first place is for the sleep tracking and alarm clock function. Every night when you to to bed, you press a button on the device. When you wake up, you press it again.

If you forget, you press a spot in the app to do it manually and in my experience, it is startlingly accurate on the time I went to bed and woke up!

I try not to forget though. Light blue indicates light sleep, dark blue is deep sleep and orange means you were awake. As you can see, I had a rough night starting at around 4 am. That’s usually when my GI pain kicks in.

The data also tells you how long it took you to fall asleep (after you pressed the sleep button), how long you were in bed for, how many hours was light and deep sleep, and how many times you woke up. You can also see the exact times you fell asleep and woke up.

Is this accurate? As for the times I fall asleep and wake up, yes. As for deep and light sleep, who knows? I like to think it is somewhat correct, but I mostly enjoy knowing exactly how many hours I get each night. And I get to see my friends’ sleeps (if they choose to share it) which is always interesting.

You can also set it for a power nap, to wake you in 30 minutes.

Alarm Clock

Jawbone alarm clockAnother feature I use often is the alarm clock. You can set it to wake you up by vibrating (a very nice way to be woken up, much better than a jarring alarm clock) when you are in a light sleep mode. This is because when you wake up during deep sleep, you might be more tired all day long than if you slept less but woke up while in light sleep. Fascinating! I have it set so that I put my latest possible wake-up time into the alarm, and give it permission to wake me up up to 20 minutes before that time if I am in light sleep.

You can adjust this setting however you like. I can’t speak for sure to its accuracy, but I like the idea of it.

Another bonus is that you can set multiple alarms for different days.

Idle Reminder
I have it set so that between the hours of  9am and 5 pm, my Jawbone vibrates if I’m idle for 45 minutes. You can set this however you’d like.

Workouts
Using the stopwatch function, you can begin and end a workout. After the workout, you select on the app screen what type of workout it was. They have a few pages of options, including run, walk, cross training (that’s how I designate Refine), elliptical and more. You input the intensity of your workout — easy, moderate, difficult, in the zone, gut buster — so it can estimate a calorie burn if you care about that. I wouldn’t really trust their estimate  though.

Some interesting things I’ve noticed: the elliptical counts as steps but the stairmill does not. I don’t know why that is but needless to say, I was pretty frustrated that my 20 minutes of climbing stairs didn’t count toward my total!

Food Tracking
That brings me to food tracking. Through the Jawbone app, you can input food you eat right down to the size (like, 1/8 cup strawberries, really precise) if you choose. You can also take photos of your food for the app to tally up. This function is primarily for people who want to assess calories in vs calories out. I don’t bother with this function, though I am sure some people find it very useful to see a log of all their food each day.

Alerts & Insights
In addition to the praise I mentioned above (which the app gives for both steps and sleep), there are a number of other alerts as well. On Saturday, my Jawbone app reminded me of how many steps I took the Saturday before and urged me to beat that day’s steps. I also have it set to send me a push notification when I reach 2,000, 4,000, 6,000, 8,000 and 10,000 steps each day, as well as a summary of the day so far at 4:30pm.

You can swipe down to see a quick summary of your recent activities.

Jawbone data

Another feature is Insights. Every day my app will show me some new insights into my own data along with general health and wellness tips. Here’s one example.

  Jawbone Insights

Data & Trends
The app makes it easy to analyze trends and see which days I tend to fall short or do better. The Trends section and the Lifeline section are really fascinating.

Jawbone Lifeline Jawbone trends

You can also see your most current sleep and steps data right from the home screen, along with one Insight.

Jawbone app home screen

See that happy face on the left? Every day you can tell the Jawbone app your mood, and over time it will analyze trends to correlate your mood with your sleep. I haven’t played much with that feature yet.

Jawbone appsApp Syncing
The Jawbone app syncs with some other fitness and wellness apps, and can display your data for you and your friends. I don’t use any of the apps they partner with right now, but they keep adding more so I hope to find one I’d like to use eventually.

Goals
The default goals are 8 hours of sleep and 10,000 steps. You can easily change those to fit your lifestyle. I like these two goals, so I leave them as is.

Battery Life
The battery lasts around seven days, and the app itself will tell you how many days charge you have left. To charge the device, you just plug it into a port that connects to your computer via USB. The entire charging process doesn’t take long at all.

I think that’s all! I’ll probably come back here and update this post if I think of anything else I want to add. I never used the FitBit or Nike Fuelband, so I can’t compare the Jawbone to those.

I’ve been very happy with my Jawbone UP24 these last three months! Feel free to ask me any questions.

Do you wear a fitness tracker? Does it motivate you to march around your house, too?


On Not Being Able to Speak Up

Something about me: I find it really, really difficult to speak up in certain situations. It gets to the point where I feel paralyzed; I know what I should say and when I should say it, but I just can’t. People who know me, like my husband, will urge me to simply not be afraid to speak up. But it isn’t about being afraid. I can’t explain exactly what force is preventing me from using words to convey my thought in certain situations. I just know that there is something clamping down on my mouth and I feel basically incapable of doing anything. I am paralyzed.

I’m writing about this now because I’ve been struggling with a recurrence of my neck injury. I got a massage last weekend, then an email from Coach Abby (who’s already proved how much I need her — more on her another time) saying ‘Whatever you do don’t get a massage until the pain goes away. Only e-stim and acupuncture is totally fine. But no massage.”

CRAP. Not only was I too late to heed her advice, but my pain did get significantly worse following the massage, which I didn’t connect until her email. So I committed to healing. I started using my e-stim machine every day. In fact, I’m using it right now as I type this.

Dori's e-stim

E-stimming at work

Committed to recovery,  I rested; no Refine, no running. I made an appointment for acupuncture and when the day of my appointment arrived — this past Sunday — I was already feeling so much better. No pain at all, just a feeling of the right side of my neck and shoulder being different, slightly heavier and stiffer. But the pain was gone and I felt certain I’d be running in a few days time.

So on Sunday as I lay on the acupuncture table, I showed the doctor where my pain was and told her I’m already doing much better than I was. She put the needles in, turned on a machine that I think was also e-stim but it felt more like poking (in a good way – got right to the muscle), and pointed that amazing heat lamp on me.

I felt really good. I didn’t feel pain, I enjoyed the poking sensation into my crazy tight muscle, and I knew that the acupuncture would only push me further towards recovery.

When timer went off and the doctor came back into the room, she took the needles out and started pressing into my muscles. Hard. Starting from the origin of pain (between my neck and shoulder) and up into the side of my neck. It hurt. A LOT. In a way that I knew was wrong.

And I let it happen.

The whole thing lasted no more than 60 seconds, but I knew I should have said something. I knew I should have stopped her. I knew she was taking something that was pretty much better and making it much, much worse. It hurt too much for what it was. I’d been to her for acupuncture before, the last time I had this injury, and the massage felt nice then. It didn’t feel like torture.

But this time it did. Why didn’t I stop her right away? Why didn’t I say “no massage?” Part of the reason was a slight language barrier, but that’s a poor excuse. While Chinese is obviously her first language, she does speak English just fine. Was I worried about offending her? About insinuating I knew more than she does?

Honestly, I can’t answer that. I really don’t know why I didn’t speak up, especially since I knew she might have been setting me back in my recovery.  All I can say is that it didn’t even feel like a choice. It wasn’t like “should I say something?” Rather, it was like, “I should say something I should say something I should say something speak speak use words make sounds” — but I was immobile. I couldn’t.

And the thing is — this happens all the time. ALL THE FUCKING TIME. I can’t just say what I want when I want. Whatever held me back on Sunday — and believe me, it felt 100% out of my control even though I know it isn’t — holds me back in countless situations.

The difference is that most other situations aren’t going to physically harm me. This one did. But I felt paralyzed. I wanted to talk and I couldn’t. Is it just my personality? Or is it an emotional problem? Am I scared? Am I just shy?

It is beyond frustrating and the worst part of this particular situation is it did cause damage. I could tell that day, but it wasn’t until Monday morning when I woke up in a whole lot of pain with the heavy head feeling back that I knew I was starting over with my recovery. The run I knew I’d be able to do this week won’t happen. The Refine class I figured I’d try next week probably won’t either. I’m going to Florida on Friday and have been looking forward so much to running in a tank top and shorts there. On Sunday morning I was certain I’d be able to run in Florida. Now, I have no idea. My neck does feel much better today than it did yesterday, so I guess TWT (time will tell).

It’s not even about a need to exercise. I don’t mind taking time off to rest and recover; I usually enjoy it. What this is about is the time crunch I feel. The pressure. I want so much to train hard and run a strong race and I feel like my window is shrinking. I want to train correctly and without injury. I just want a few months to give this my all.

I’m running a marathon on July 27. I need to start building my base. I don’t have time to fuck around and keep re-injuring the same fucking body part. (On that note, I am going to a highly recommended physical therapist tomorrow so hopefully I can find out why this keeps happening).

I also need to continue taking Refine so I can be strong so I don’t re-injure my knee while running.  Plus, running and Refine are my outlets for stress. I love these activities. I want to do them all the time. They help me cope with everything else going on in my life. They keep me grounded and sane.

I feel like in my inability to speak up, I did this to myself. I wanted to recover, I was smart about recovering and then right when I was on the verge of being better, I did this thing and ruined it.

But is it my fault if I feel paralyzed? Can I  force myself to escape that immobility and say the things I need to say?

I get that injuries happen and you never know and it sucks and all that. I know it and I accept it. But what I can’t accept is that I did everything “right” — rest, e-stim, acupuncture –  and then my own inability to speak up erased ALL THE GOOD in a matter of 60 seconds. I did this.

And that is what I can’t accept.


How I Chose My Next Fall Marathon

I’m sadly not running the Eugene Marathon this year. This is tough. I was so excited about it, I signed up when the price was low, I couldn’t wait to train in the spring when I’m all fast and race in the Pacific Northwest summer during a celebration of running in Tracktown USA. I was going

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Updates: Work, Marathon, Injury, Life

After my last blog post, I went silent. For a month. This is the longest I have gone without writing since I started blogging back in November, 2007. There are a few reasons for this hiatus. 1. Thanks to the recurrence of my neck injury, I haven’t been exercising. Since fitness is my topic of choice

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DSB Review: Jawbone UP24

Back in June, my friend Christina showed me and Andy her Jawbone. Neither of us had heard of it before, but we couldn’t stop thinking about. So in November when Andy’s mom asked us what we wanted for Hanukkah, the answer was easy: the new Jawbone UP24. As an active person — I run and

Read More…


On Not Being Able to Speak Up

Something about me: I find it really, really difficult to speak up in certain situations. It gets to the point where I feel paralyzed; I know what I should say and when I should say it, but I just can’t. People who know me, like my husband, will urge me to simply not be afraid

Read More…