Vivofit is the trendy new “wearable tech” device from Garmin that tracks how active you are, and syncs with Garmin Connect to give you detailed analysis over time.
I can totally relate to the rise in popularity of these devices. As a cyclist, I ride my bike mainly to keep fit and healthy. I always record my rides using my Garmin GPS, so that I can track my progress over time, and try to make sure that I don’t slack off. My problem is when I’m not on the bike – or more specifically when I’m at work. Like so many people, I have a job where I find myself either working at a computer, or sitting in meetings for pretty much most of every day. That’s nine to five, Monday to Friday, sedentary chair-dwelling, health-sapping time. I worry about it because it’s not good for humans to sit still all day.
We didn’t evolve to sit still
The word “vivo” means life (it’s Latin). You might hear biologists talking about experiments which happen “in vitro” (in glass, e.g in a test tube in the lab), or “in vivo”, which means within the living organism. So when they named Vivofit, Garmin were making a statement that this device isn’t just for specific sports tracking. It’s for measuring the overall fitness of your life.
Research shows that prolonged periods of inactivity such as sitting at a desk much of the day decreases your body’s production of fat-burning enzymes. You can reverse that effect by taking frequent, short walk breaks throughout your day.
A stylish, inconspicuous device that tracks all your activity, all the time
The Garmin Vivofit is designed to be worn like a wristwatch, but unlike some of the very bulky designs in recent years, the Vivofit is really very slim and stylish. It’s the sort of thing you just leave on all the time. (It’s totally waterproof too).
More to the point, it tracks your INACTIVITY
It’s all well and good to track how far you’ve walked, how many steps you’ve taken, but for me, the genius thing that Vivofit does is to track how INACTIVE you can be. See that red bar on some of the devices in the photo? That bar only appears if you’ve been sat still for one hour. It’s a reminder to get up off your butt and move around. Going for a short walk will make the red bar disappear.
At less than a hundred quid,, this could have mass market appeal.
The Vivofit system can be used as a standalone hardware device but to get the best out of it, you’ll need to sync it with an online account at Garmin Connect. This will analyse your daily activity and re-set the daily goal for you, based on previous activity and what’s reasonable. This is genius, because it means people like my mum, who doesn’t do an awful lot of physical activity, can get into it without feeling like they’ve got no chance of meeting a certain level of athletic requirement. Anyone can use it, and it’ll be pitched right at them at a level that will feel ok. I love that.
At night time, Vivofit will also track your movement during your sleep, which you can then analyse over at Garmin Connect. We all know the value of sleep in terms of its importance as part of the recovery process, particularly if you’ve been training hard. You need a good amount of quality sleep time. Knowing this is one thing, but making sure it happens? I know I’m not very good at that. If I had a pound for every time I found myself still awake (usually online) and it’s gone midnight….
What I particularly love about the idea of Vivofit
It’s not just for fitness freaks. It’s for anyone who cares enough about their health that they know they ought to keep active. I’m thinking about people like my work colleagues who always try to get out for a little walk around the block at lunchtime. Neighbours who like to get out and walk the dog. People with medical conditions who would benefit from a certain amount of moderate activity every day (the real point being that to sit around all day doing nothing is more harmful). It’s the sort of device that anyone can use. I bet you can think of people you know (who aren’t fitness freaks) who would like to own a vivofit.
I’m currently testing Vivofit, and will write a review soon. By the way – the battery lasts a whole year.
Update: Read my full Vivofit review here
Already convinced? Get one now
The retail price is £99, but as you’d expect, you can expect to get great discounts online. Amazon are selling them for around £79 to £82.Check out the various options now
My full Vivofit review is now available.