The arrival of a new calendar year can bring many to consider purchasing items to aid in wellness. If you are doing so, I’d like to recommend the FitBit Alta HR, particularly for its usefulness in academia. Here at ProfHacker, we’ve covered such wearables before: Natalie wrote about her month with the Fitbit Flex and then spent two months with the Basis; Anastasia reviewed the Pebble Smartwatch and then considered the Garmin Forerunner 235.
To be honest, rarely have I purchased a tech device that I have found to be as useful as this one. It works as a pedometer, as you might expect, and it can associate your heart rate to levels of physical activity - which is nice because you don’t have to remember to turn it on and off as you start and end exercise.
But its features extend beyond the usual, and I have found them to be particularly useful in academia. I love that you can set a function so that it buzzes you if you have been inactive in a given hour. Right around X:50, you’ll get a buzz reminder to go walk. This is helpful if you have settled in for a long writing or coding session. And that time just so happens to coincide with when many meetings are (or should be) finishing. That cue helps me try to help meetings get wrapped up, whether I am running them or someone else is. (If you have meetings that don’t end on the hour, you can set custom timers for the reminders.)
I also like that I can connect it to my smartphone and the FitBit will display texts that come in. This is very useful for my family as my husband and I share parenting duties. We always send to each other confirmation texts about pick ups and drop offs of our children, and I can see that text much more discreetly on my FitBit during class than if I had my phone out.
The silent buzz alarm option is also very helpful for being able to set a wake up alarm without disturbing others in your household, especially if you have to get up much earlier than anyone else around you (thank you, 7:30 AM labs!)
Other devices can certainly do these things, and more; the Apple Watch is an obvious example. But I really like that my Alta HR does just a few focused things that I need and use daily, and not much more than that.
Do you have any devices that help you take care of yourself and help your time in academia? Let us know in the comments.