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. Using these devices or apps is one of six hacks to sit less and save your life.

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, Alta HR, 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. You can review how you have achieved your goals over the past week. It also shows your longest inactive period for the day and total minutes active and sedentary.

With older Fitbit models, you can see your active hours in the app, but they do not have vibrating alerts. The Fitbit Surge includes a watch face with a "flare" display that shows how active you are each minute.

Garmin's fitness bands give you a "Time to Move!" alert after an hour of inactivity. Garmin vivofit is the little brother of the lineup. 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. 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. 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.

The Jawbone UP wristband activity monitors pair with a phone app. You can set Idle Alerts so the band 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, diet, all-day steps, and mood. It has a top-grade sleep quality monitoring function. The wristband has no display of its own, so you have to sync it with the app. The less-expensive Jawbone MOVE gives Idle Alerts in its app but doesn't vibrate.

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. 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 pre-set goal is set to stand for at least one minute of 12 hours per day, which you can adjust. The activity graph shows which hours you have missed. It is incredibly motivational. The Apple Watch has many features for walkers that you will enjoy.

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, which also shows up as marks of shame on your daily diary. They 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 A370 fitness band, which includes smart notifications, wrist-based heart rate monitor, sleep tracking, and 24/7 activity tracking. If you want a running watch, the M200 and M430 have GPS and wrist-based heart rate.

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. A charge lasts for several days.

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 this band allows you to 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, which you might mistake for the activity alert. It tracks steps, calories burned and automatically tracks sleep. It has a finger-press pulse reader built in. It has a 10 to14 day battery life before recharging.

MotionX 24/7

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MotionX 24/7 is an 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. You may have to recharge your phone during your idle times.

Get Moving App

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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

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The Move More app for iOS doesn't require that you carry your phone with you or wear a fitness band. It's a log rather than a sensor, allowing you to tap on the app on your iPhone or iPad whenever you want to record 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. It is simple to use and very inexpensive at about a dollar. If you can get in the habit of using it, you will become much more aware of how much time you spend sitting.

Break Time App

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Do you just want an alert for a break? 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 the break. If you want it to alert you every 30 minutes to take a 2-minute active break, 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.

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