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Good sleep and bad golf – the UP wristband is tracking you!

By Paul O’Reilly

I love my gadgets but very few recent devices have caught my imagination like the UP wristband from Jawbone. Yes, those are the same folks that produce those cool Bluetooth headsets and the amazing JAMBOX wireless speakers, only this time they have come up with something that could change your life!

The Jawbone UP is a rubberized twist-on bracelet that sits comfortably on your wrist and literally tracks your activity every minute of the day. It tells you how many steps you take, how many calories you burn, how many minutes per day you are active, and, most importantly, how well you are sleeping.

The UP wristband is compatible with the iPhone, iPad and a growing number of Android devices. I synced mine with the new Samsung Galaxy S4 and the set up couldn’t be easier. You just download the UP app, pull off a cap at one end of the wristband, and plug it into the headphone jack on your phone. The first time you connect you will be asked to set up your account, but after that, it automatically syncs and refreshes your data in about 15 seconds flat.

As part of the set up process, the UP app will ask you to set both movement and sleep goals. The default movement goal is 10,000 steps per day, which works out around 5 miles for the average person. Similarly, the default sleep setting is 8 hours, but you can set it to anything you want. After that, the UP band tracks your progress, giving you a detailed breakdown of how you are doing against each goal.

Even though 10,000 steps a day might sound like a lot, you will be surprised at how quickly those steps mount up. Remember, the UP wristband is tracking every step you take, so even if you just get up to answer the door, that’s another 40 steps in the bank. Of course, the real goal is to get you to exercise and it’s amazingly effective at doing just that. My dog is now getting a lot of late evening walks, as I make sure I hit my goal each day!

Just as fascinating are the nighttime readouts. Not only will the UP wristband record how long you slept but it will also tell you how long it took you to fall asleep, the amount of light sleep versus deep sleep, and how often you woke up during the night. After just a few days of use, you start forming habits that promote better quality sleep, which may ultimately be the biggest benefit of using the device.

In addition to its automatic movement and sleep tracking capabilities, the UP wristband also allows you to manually input and track various other activities, including your food and drink intake, your workouts, and even your moods! You can also share your data with friends for added motivation.

Of course, the UP wristband can also serve up some information that might not be so welcome, which is where my golf game comes in. I am reliably informed that a normal golfer walks approximately 4 miles while playing a round of golf, so when I recorded over 6 miles during a recent round, I knew I wasn’t spending too much time in the fairway! (A fact that was also evident from my scorecard.)

But golf aside, the UP wristband is one of those breakthrough devices that uses state-of-the-art technology to completely transform an everyday activity. Try it and I guarantee you’ll be hooked!

I received my Jawbone UP wristband from Verizon Wireless. The Online Mom LLC receives a fee for participating in certain promotional programs for Verizon. All opinions are my own.

Follow Paul on Twitter.

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