Sedentary lifestyle is a killer. I mean literally. It affects your cardiovascular health, your endocrine system, as well as your bones and muscles. Spending too much sitting also promotes weight gain, which can make you prone to certain conditions. To stay healthy people should keep moving. That's simply in our nature.
Unfortunately, many of us choose to remain inactive, despite being informed about all the benefits of even mild exercise. It's the nature of our work that usually dictates our lifestyle, but many of us are simply inert to take even the slightest action.
Whatever reasons are, lack of any physical activity puts us at risk of developing high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and even cancer. Even the moderate daily activity, such as walking, may reduce that risk. Healthy nutrition and proper amount of sleep also play important part in this.
But, how to know if you're active enough, if you eating healthy, or having enough sleep? The answer is simple; you should track it. This is important for anyone who wants to stay on top of their health, especially for those who have hectic daily schedules, and often forget or don't have time to write down things.
There are many activity tracking apps that may help, whether they come preinstalled on your Android or iPhone device, such as Apple's Health or Google Fit, or you have to install them from the app stores. A lot of these apps are made as companions to various physical trackers and fitness gadgets, while lots of them also work as stand-alone apps.
On Steadyhealth we already reviewed couple of these useful tracker apps, including FitBit app and Lifesum app, that both help users track their activity level, calories and weight.
Some of these tracker apps may focus on single function, such as tracking your sleeping patterns, duration and quality like Pillow app does, or they could include more options to track like in Withings Health Mate app.
The app we review today also helps users track many things, from their activity and nutrition, to weight and sleep. It is UP Smart Coach for Health made by Jawbone for both Android and iPhone devices.
While the app is designed as a companion to UP fitness trackers, it can be used as stand-alone app that uses your phone sensors, namely Apple Health. However, this would be possible only if you use iPhone. If you plan to use the app on Android, it will require that you have UP device installed and paired.
The app requires users to register an account by providing some basic information, such as gender, height, weight and date of birth, after which they get an interesting tip about people with similar data, i.e. how much steps a day and sleep a night they average.
After providing basic information, users can set their goals, for example number of steps (10,000 is default as recommended by experts), sleep duration (with times when to go to bed and when to wake up) and weight goals (whether they want to lose, maintain or gain it).
Also, you'd be prompted to enable smart notifications and your location before the registration is completed.
Once you're done, the UP app will open to the main screen, with colorful and neat design, that features your achievements for that day. You can simply swipe through the previous days, but the app also allows you to see your daily, weekly and monthly progress in Trends section.
To start tracking, you should add some activities first. There are two house like icons on the main screen, that represent sleep (purple) and workout (orange), that grow as you're adding entries. Simply tap on both and add how much sleep you had, or type of activity you've done (with duration and effort level).
Tapping on plus symbol, allows you to add additional parameters to track, for example your mood, nutrition and weight.
Adding mood works easy. You just need to slide down the screen and choose the emoticon that describes how you feel today, ranging from exhausted to amazing.
The nutrition tracker allows you to choose from the list of foods with servings and calorie count, or to use your camera to take the picture of the food or scan the barcode from the package. Here, you can also log your water intake.
To track weight, simply log any changes for every day, along with body fat percentage, of course only if you know that information.
Besides tracking sleep, you can also use UP app to log your naps, which also may have health benefits.
All your daily stats will be visible on the main screen, but you can also use Goals and Trends sections to have better insight into your progress.
Jawbone's UP, however, isn't app that just lets users track and log their progress for themselves. It also features strong social component that allows users to share their progress, invite friends and participate in "gamified" duels. All this makes tracking and logging more exciting and less boring.
UP app will send you activity alerts, for example after every 2,000 steps. The app can also send bedtime reminders along with the bed preparation time that users can adjust.
The app requires Internet connection so keep that in mind to avoid unnecessary costs (if you use mobile data).
The only thing I'd like to see improved is more depth when tracking sleep, in similar manner to Pillow app. Instead of just duration, it would be useful to be able to track sleep quality and patterns as well. This is maybe available if you use the app with wearable UP tracker, but since I've only tested iPhone version of the app, I couldn't check it.
Nevertheless, Jawbone's UP app is amazing tracker for multitude of things, including your activity, weight, mood, calories and sleep. Unfortunately, if you're an Android user, you'd have to buy UP wearable tracker or choose different tracker app.
Benefit: Anyone who wants to track their activity, weight, nutrition, calories, mood and sleep