The days of wearing a FitBit or Jawbone just to count your steps are long gone
Your fitness tracker goes everywhere these days, just sitting on your wrist and quietly collecting far more data than just your daily steps. Think about it: the little digital spies appear at weddings and funerals, at the grocery store, even in the bedroom. So it shouldn't come as a surprise that people have figured out way more inventive ways to use their FitBit or Jawbone than to simply count many flights of stairs they've climbed and track the quality of last night's sleep.
Here, five things you've probably never thought to use a fitness tracker for. (As for what the heck those numbers all mean, read Your Fitness Tracker's Stats—Explained.)
Admit it, you've been curious about how many calories you burn and how high your heart rate gets during sex. One FitBit user decided to check out the stats on her most recent bedroom romp and proceeded to post the resulting graph on Reddit, calling it "consensual, sexy science." She was particularly into how she could tell, just based on how her FitBit reported that her heart rate changed, when she and her partner put on the condom, changed positions, and orgasmed. (In case you're curious, she spent eight minutes in her fat burning zone and climaxed with a peak heart rate of 129—not bad for a quickie!)
Your Life Story
People buy fitness trackers to, well, track their fitness. But, the truth is, they're tracking every aspect of your life—and when you take the data together as a whole it can tell a powerful story about where you go, who you see, what you like to do, and ultimately who you are. Saga, an app that syncs with most popular fitness trackers, uses the GPS, heart rate, and activity functions to turn raw data into a story line. You can also add your Twitter, Facebook, and other social media accounts to it to get a more accurate narrative. Think of it as the easiest way ever to keep a journal!
Heart Rate Variability
Did you know that how your heart beats can give you a wealth of information on your health? Your heart rate variability, or the variation in the intervals between your heart beats, is the latest stat athletes are obsessing over. Basically, the more variation in your heart rate, the healthier you are, as researchers say it shows that your ticker is resilient and strong. Past studies have shown that low HRV is linked with heart disease, metabolic syndrome, and even a higher risk of dying in the next three years. In addition, people are using their HRV to help them figure out their optimal training plan and avoid overtraining. But the best part is that you don't need fancy equipment to get this info—all you need is a fitness tracker that can monitor your heart rate, and an HRV app like iThlete or Bioforce.
Okay, so your FitBit can't actually monitor how bad your migraine is. But some professionals are now using FitBits to monitor spikes in their heart rate and their activity patterns which, when combined with a quick pain survey, can help determine what triggers their pain, how often they have it, and how long it lasts. This is all invaluable information that your doctor can use to help you treat your chronic pain. Using your fitness tracker can also help you find ways to help yourself, perhaps by showing you how exercise helps ameliorate your aches or how your monthly cycle triggers it.
You might be surprised how much slouching affects your life. Research has shown that standing up straight can help you breathe better, avoid back problems, and even look like you've dropped ten pounds instantly. (Learn How Texting Harms Your Posture.) Thankfully, certain fitness trackers, like the Lumo, can sense when you're slumping; they then vibrate to give you a gentle reminder to straighten up.