Fitness Bands and Apps with Sitting Time Alerts

Reminding You to Get Up and Move Every Hour or 30 Minutes

Research evidence is mounting that sitting too much is its own health risk factor, even if you get in enough workouts each day. Sitting for 30 minutes or more continuously is a problem when you have a sedentary job and then sit at home relaxing. How can you be more mindful of your sitting time and work on getting up and moving around to break it up?

More and more pedometers, fitness bands, and smart watches are being designed to notify you when you've been sitting too long. These apps and activity monitors can alert you when you are sitting too long. It's one of the six hacks to sit less and save your life.

Fitbit Alta - Charge 2 - Flex 2 - Blaze

Fitbit Charge 2
Fitbit Charge 2. Fitbit

The newer Fitbit models include vibrating move reminders and track daily goals for being active each hour. If you haven't logged 250 steps yet during the hour, you get a vibrating and scrolling alert with the Alta, Blaze, and Charge 2, and a vibration and colored lights with the Flex 2. Get up and get stepping and when you reach your goal you'll get a vibration and message. With the Charge 2 and the ​Blaze, you also can see your steps add up to the 250 per hour so you know just how far you need to go to make your goal. All of them track the number of hours you achieved this goal during the day, and you can set the start and stop period. You can review how you have achieved it over the week. It also shows your longest inactive period for the day and total minutes active and sedentary.

Most other Fitbits track hours where you moved at least 250 steps but do not have vibrating alerts. The Fitbit Surge includes a watch face with a "flare" display that shows how active you are each minute. It's a great visual reminder to move more throughout each hour.

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Garmin vivosmart HR - vivofit 2 - vivofit 3

Garmin vivofit HR
Garmin vivofit HR. Courtesy of Amazon.com

Garmin's fitness bands give you a "Time to Move!" alert after an hour of inactivity. Garmin vivofit is the little brother of the line up. It has a growing Move Bar to show you how long you have been inactive, with an alert when it has gone past an hour. It doesn't vibrate, but it's newer models, the vivofit 2 and vivofit 3 include an audible alert as well as the visual alert.

The Garmin vivosmart and vivosmart HR bands vibrate after an hour of inactivity to tell you "time to move!" Then you'll need to get up and walk for a couple of minutes to reset the inactivity timer. The vibration is much harder to ignore than a visual message. You can also set it to vibrate and display information on incoming calls, texts or email from your linked smartphone. It tracks steps, distance, calories, time of day and sleep. You can set a vibrating alarm to wake you up in the morning. You can pair it with a heart rate monitor to track the intensity of your workouts.It has a numerical display and you can easily see your key stats on your wrist.

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Jawbone UP2, UP3

Jawbone UP Family of Fitness Trackers - UP24, UP MOVE with clip and wristband, UP3
Jawbone UP Family of Fitness Trackers - UP24, UP MOVE with clip and wristband, UP3. Jawbone

The Jawbone UP wristband activity monitors pair with a phone app (Google Play and iOS). You can set Idle Alerts and they will vibrate when you've been inactive for your chosen amount of time. Unlike Fitbit and Garmin, you can set your alarm for 15 minutes or 30 minutes of inactivity if you want to move even more often than once an hour. It takes a couple of minutes of motion to satisfy its desire that you really do get up and move. Just standing won't convince it. In addition to the Idle Alerts, it has a full suite of activity and sleep monitoring functions. You can track workouts, track your diet, track all-day steps and mood. It has a top-grade sleep quality monitoring function due to integration with MotionX sleep technology. The wristband has no display of its own, you have to sync it with a mobile device via Bluetooth. The less expensive Jawbone MOVE gives Idle Alerts in its app but doesn't vibrate.

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Apple Watch

Apple Watch - Stand Achievement
Apple Watch - Stand Achievement. Wendy Bumgardner ©

The Apple Watch Activity app reminds you to stand and move around for at least one minute each hour. It's one of the three key activities that it tracks automatically and displays as the Activity Ring icon visible on many of the watch faces. If you haven't gotten up within an hour, it gives you a tap on the wrist and a notification that you need to stand up. Once you've moved for a minute, it congratulates you and logs your achievement. The goal is set to Stand for 12 hours per day, which you can adjust.The activity graph shows which hours you have missed. It is incredibly motivational. See more great  Apple Watch features for walkers

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Polar A360 - Loop 2 - Polar A300 - Polar M400 GPS

Polar A360
Polar A360. Courtesy of Amazon.com

Polar incorporates inactivity alerts in its line of fitness bands and watches. They all tie into the Polar Flow phone app. If you've been inactive for an hour you get an inactivity alert. These show as marks of shame on your daily diary. They also encourage you to be "Up" by adding minutes standing to your daily goal total. You reach the goal by a combination of standing, walking, and ​more intense activity. All of these Polar models also link to their Bluetooth heart rate monitors for tracking of workout sessions. Models include their Polar A360 fitness band, which includes smart notifications, wrist-based heart rate monitor, sleep tracking, and 24/7 activity tracking. It replaces the older Polar Loop and Loop 2 models. The Polar A300 is a fitness and activity watch, while the  Polar M400 GPS Sports Watch adds speed and distance tracking.

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iFit Active

iFit Active
iFit Active. iFit

The IFit Active can be worn as a fitness band or on a belt clip. It has vibrating alerts when you have been sitting for your chosen time interval. While it will alert you, it doesn't track inactive time as a statistic. The sensor displays steps, distance, calories in and calories eaten. You can quickly log calories on the sensor, pressing the button to log 50 calorie increments. You can also track workouts and sleep. It syncs via Bluetooth to iFit app, with data added to your iFit account. It recharges with a custom USB cradle, a charge lasts several days.

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LYCOS Life Band

LYCOS Life Band
LYCOS Life Band. Courtesy of Amazon.com

The LYCOS Life smart band has vibrating alerts for your chosen period of inactivity. Many other devices have a pre-set 60 minute alert that you can't change. But with this band you can choose your interval and change it as you wish. You can set other vibrating alarms. It links to both Android and iOS devices, with notifications. Those also vibrate, so you may find yourself moving a lot more. It tracks steps, calories burned and automatically tracks sleep. It has a finger-press pulse reader built in. It has a 10-14 day battery life before recharging.

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MotionX 24/7

Publisher's Site
This iOS app does a lot. It turns your iPhone or other device into an all-day pedometer, exercise tracker and sleep quality monitor. You can also set Idle Alerts so it will alert you when it hasn't sensed any motion in your set period of time. Besides all-day steps, it tracks aerobic steps so you can also see if you are getting the 30 minutes a day of moderate-intensity exercise recommended for health. It has a voice coach to guide you through timed walking or running workouts and uses your phone's flash to take your pulse. The sleep quality monitoring is very detailed and is the same as is used in the Jawbone UP. The disadvantage is that it will use more battery power to work in the background than the Move More app, which uses very little. You may have to recharge your phone during your idle times.

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Get Moving App

Publisher's Site
This iOS app for the iPhone 5S and above tracks all of your daily activity as a pedometer. You can set custom inactivity alerts to whatever interval you desire, one-time or repeating. The clock starts when it detects you are idle. You can view weekly summaries on how long you were inactive, where and when.

Move More App

Publisher's Site
This app for iOS can be used with your iPhone or iPad to let you log your activity and inactivity. It doesn't automatically sense what you are doing. It's a log rather than a sensor. Instead, you tap the app to record the start of a period of sitting, standing, moving, exercising or sleeping. If you forget to change your level, you can always go back and edit the start and end time. You can set alerts for any of the levels. If you want it to alert you when you haven't changed from sitting/inactive after 20 minutes, you can do so. You can review days or ranges of days and compare two days or date ranges. I like it for its simplicity, and it is very inexpensive at 99 cents. That's less than 1/100 what fitness bands cost. Yet if you can get in the habit of using it, you will become much more aware of how much time you spend sitting, and maybe get motivated to, er. move more.

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Break Time App

Publisher's Site
This app for iOS and Mac allows you to set alerts for your chosen interval to remind you to take a break from sitting. It is flexible for the amount of time between alerts, plus the length of break. If you want it to alert you every 30 minutes, take a 2 minute active break, and back to work, you can do that. It is easy to adjust the duration between breaks and it runs in the background. It doesn't sense your activity and it doesn't provide any graphs or comparisons from day to day. But it may work well to remind you to get more active.

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