A recent health kick happily coincided with receiving a sample of the UP Jawbone wristband, a handy way of keeping track of how you sleep, move and eat.
With a holiday looming in September, I have found an ignited dedication for hitting the gym, and the UP Jawbone has become an indispensable means of tracking my progress.
The band itself is relatively subtle and easy to wear, I have the black version which looks more like a fashion choice rather than a fitness band.
It comes in three sizes - small, medium and large - and although the small is a little snug on my wrist, after a few days of wear I stopped noticing it was even there.
The band is extremely simple to use - it has one button which can toggle your activity between day, night and exercising. You then can sync your movements and sleep with the UP Jawbone app on your phone by attaching the band through the headphone jack.
The UP Jawbone app is also straightforward. It has three main purposes - to show a breakdown of your sleep, how many steps you move a day, and the calories you are taking in.
Although it might seem a bit time-consuming at first, manually inputting your food soon becomes rather addictive, and it's interesting to see how calories add up throughout the day.
Through logging my food, I have become more aware of the amount I'm consuming, especially from snacking, and it's definitely made me cut down on the amount of junk I eat. The app has a large database of foods, where you can keep track of your diet. It also has a handy scan function for bar-codes, making the process even quicker.
With regards exercise, each user can set their own daily target of steps - I picked the average which is recommended, 10,000, but have found I'm averaging around 15,000. You can also log workout sessions, and add in what type of exercise you were doing (eg cardio, weights, bike) and the intensity in order to see the amount of calories burned. It is worth noting that although the band is shower-resistant, you can't use this while swimming.
The sleep aspect of the UP Jawbone is probably the most interesting. I have 8 hours as my target, which I don't usually reach mid-week, but more than make up for at the weekends. The wristband also monitors your light and deep sleep, as well as telling you how long it took you to get to sleep and if you have woken in the night.
One aspect of the band I haven't taken advantage of yet is the alarm clock function. You can set the approximate time that you want to be woken at, and the Jawbone will buzz you awake during a light sleep cycle, meaning you'll wake up feeling refreshed.
I have been using the 'idle function', which means that the band buzzes when I have been idle for 20 minutes. This is a gentle reminder in work to get up from my desk and move my legs, even just to get a cup of water.
The Jawbone becomes more useful the more you use it, as it constantly logs your activity and builds up trends, each day giving a few tips on nutrition, fitness or sleep.
Having used the UP Jawbone (RRP €129) for three weeks I can attest to its durability and usefulness. It has definitely made me more aware of the choices I am making with regards nutrition, and encourages me to get up and move more.
Three mobile is the only Irish network offering the Up Band by Jawbone to Irish customers until October 1 2013. Using Three's All You Can Eat Data plan with the Up band ensures Three customers can enjoy a healthy lifestyle without fear of exceeding mobile data limits.
For more information visit: http://www.three.ie/deals/lifestyle.html