5 Health Trackers That Really Work

Tracking how well you eat, move and sleep is a great way to lose weight and get fitter. Here, new body monitors that can really help.

By Judy Jones
weight losstracking fitbit philips directlife gruve bodymedia armband zeo sleep
(Clockwise from top) 1. Bodymedia Fit Armband BW 2. Philips DirectLife 3. FitBit 4. Gruve 5. Zeo Personal Sleep Coach
Photograph: Levi Brown

ZEO PERSONAL SLEEP COACH
TRACKS Sleep time and quality
COST $200; $300 for personalized coaching; myzeo.com
I’m afraid there’s no way to talk about the Zeo without using the term wake-up call. First, because the technology is so amazing: Can three little sensors on a headband really monitor my brain waves; measure how much time I spend in REM, deep and light sleep, plus how often I’m unknowingly awakened during the night; and transmit the data wirelessly to a display unit that instantly feeds the information back to me as a graph? (Sure, why not? It’s 2011.) Second, because I was shocked to see how little sleep I’ve actually been getting. The sleek bedside display, which doubles as a smart alarm clock (and I mean very smart; I can set it to go off during a light phase of sleep, when I’m less likely to wake up groggy), also stores my data so I can upload it to Zeo’s website. There I can obsess about my pathetically low sleep score and get coached on exactly how to improve it (in my case, avoid late-night Net surfing and ask the dog to please sleep in its own bed).
BUY IT IF You suspect that poor sleep habits are at least partly to blame for your zombielike stupor and voracious appetite during the day.

| Turn Your Stats Into Cash |
Studies show that financial incentives help people achieve their health goals—but dropping a dollar bill into the cookie jar every time you work out is so retro. Now you can partner with websites that, in return for earning your good favor and loyalty, will turn the info from your tracking devices into tangible (yes, even monetary) rewards.

  • Earndit: Collect points for every mile you run, walk, bike, skate or paddle. Use them to compete in social-networking challenges or redeem them for clothing, food and beauty-product gift cards (free; earndit.com).
  • Play2BFit: Join as a team of friends, coworkers, etc., or be placed on an existing team for an eight-week program. Players earn individual and team points by logging in daily activities ranging from standard exercises to shoveling snow (you can even earn bonus points by making dietary changes). They also get regular online support from a personal trainer, and top earners win bonus points, gift cards and cash prizes throughout the competition. ($65 per program for first-time players, $75 for returnees; play2bfit.com).
  • Switch2Health: Buy a wristband that displays a smile when you move and a frown when you sit, and use it to track exercise. Every hour logged nets you one reward code, redeemable at places like iTunes (wristband: $20; s2h.com.
  • Plus 3 Network: Log your time- or distance-based fitness activities to accumulate points that translate into a charitable donation (you pick the sponsor and cause from a preset list). Activities verified via tracking systems, such as a Garmin watch, earn double points (free; plus3network.com).

Originally published in the May 2011 issue of More.

Next: 12 Quick Fixes for Lasting Weight Loss

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First Published April 26, 2011

Share Your Thoughts!

Comments

Alexandru Petru05.20.2011

I know that a lot of people want to get thiner but I actually want the opposite. I just can't get any fat to stick to my body, but I noticed that when I work out, I actually gain weight. I don't really know why this happens. jocuri cu masinijocuri barbie

Peter Rudy05.18.2011

I've played Play2Bfit twice and found it amazing. Losing weight, increasing my energy, improving my cholesterol levels, and all while having fun competing. It's a great way to get back into the swing of an exercise program.

Sarah DeVries05.10.2011

Our office is abuzz with positivity and healthy activity since first playing the game nearly 3 years ago. We stay motivated through the competitiveness and bonus activities and the team aspect is beneficial for both our individual commitments to fitness as well as our work environment and corporate culture. Play2BFit is AWESOME!

Cytheria 05.10.2011

And unlike old-school pedometers and heart-rate monitors, the newest gadgets are incredibly sensitive and comprehensive: They use brain wave monitors, galvanic skin sensors, 3-D technology—everything, it seems, except spells and incantations—to follow your behavior patterns around the clock. And in doing so, they raise your consciousness. replica watches replica handbags

Tim Carroll05.09.2011

Play2Bfit has tremendous opportunities for me to maintain a routine that is manageable at a variety of levels. If my schedule is super tight I can still play at a level that works and that I can succeed at. When I have more time schedule wise and during any given game, I can "Up my Ante" and soar. The easy to use website and the team building that logging in online manifests is a constant encouragement. Last winter while Minnesota was under a mountain of snow I was able to devise activity that suited the environment and learn new ways of challenging myself. The progress that is visually displayed and the tips and goals sections are also highly motivational.

05.07.2011

It's been a year since I first discovered Play2BFit and not only am I still enjoying the healthy level of activity that I started then, but I still keep in touch and receive support from my teammates too. Such encouragement makes a big difference!

judy waple05.06.2011

My husband and I are in our late 60's/early 70's and credit Play2BFit with keeping us movtiated to "move, move, move". We enjoy the team spirit and challenges and find the fact that our team is depending on us for points to be motivating. The real proof of the game's value though is how much better we feel, how much stronger we are,the improvement in diet, and the shift to better habits. Access to a plan, encouragement, advice (and prizes!) from the professional trainer and owner, Britt, are invaluable.


Our company sponsored a team of 4 to join Play2Bfit, back in the Fall 2010. You get started by choosing 3 goals. For me, I wanted to increase the # of days I exercised; I wanted the duration to be longer; and I wanted more variety in my regime! Play2Bfit and that competitive spirit and training advice you get from Britt was exceptional! 5 months since achieving my goals and they're still in place! I'm biking, swimming and running - 6 days a week for a minimum of 45 minutes and up to a couple of hours! The game created the focus I needed to change my habits and make them stick! As a company, we continue to use Play2Bfit as part of our Wellness offerings.

05.05.2011

I love Play2Bfit. I work in a calorie demanding industry and I find this game to be the perfect complement to motivate me to keep moving -- doing something-- every day. It isn't overwhelming with 'shoulds' - just keep moving in a way that's good for you- for life. And I do! Great team game too.

jen 05.05.2011

I LOVE Play2BFit! I played it for almost a year straight. I'm already very active, but this game motivated me to try new activities and push for those extra couple of points. I really liked having data on my exercise & still keep up the good recording habits this game started.

Tammy Beasley05.05.2011

Just discovered Play2BFit a few months ago, and love it! It is a fabulous motivational tool to keep you on track with fitness, and the team game complete with weekly challenges and prizes adds to the fun. I am encouraging my nutrition clients to play as a team, since regular exercise and group accountability are two of the key components of long term weight management success.

05.04.2011

We have been playing Play2BFit for about 4 years and really like the way it keeps you motivated. It's fun to play with (or against) family members even if they live far away. There are always helpful tips, and weekly games to keep you focused on your goals. We are always more active when we play the game. We love it!

Lana 05.04.2011

I've been playing Play2BFit for several years. I'm 64 and plan to play until I'm 90, maybe longer! The team approach is motivating and I do so much more than I would on my own. And classes at the Y count as points in the game! Win-win!

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