Fitbit: Improving fitness one step at a time
By Chong Jinn Xiung September 24, 2016
- FThe Charge 2, Flex 2 aim to encourage users to lead more active lifestyle
- Educating public on the importance of staying fit is imperative
MALAYSIA has the dubious honour of being the fattest nation in the region with one in three adults being overweight.
By the numbers, 30% of Malaysians are overweight while 17.5% are obese. This will have a severe cost impact not just on the individual but the economy as whole according to fitness band maker Fitbit.
Fitbit's country manager for Southeast Asia Louis Lye (pic, above) commented that obesity is a major issue facing the country and unfortunately many Malaysians are unaware of this health epidemic.
“Being overweight or obese leads to diabetes and that in turn leads to the number one killer in the world, heart disease. Serious steps must be taken to change the sedentary lifestyle and culture of urban dwellers,” he said.
“With the development of sensors, smart watches and fitness trackers we want to bring a wearable device to users that captures data and use that to motivate them to reach their fitness goals,” he added.
Fitbit’s biggest market in the region is Singapore at the moment according to Lye though efforts are being made to increase the adoption of fitness trackers as lifestyle devices to improve one’s personal health.
“Not everyone is able to sign up with a gym and even if they do they are very likely to drop out after a few months. But having a fitness tracker that you can take everywhere with you is great because it is a good motivational tool to get them moving and staying active,” he said.
The company is also partnering with insurance companies through progressive programmes like AIA Vitality that encourage its policyholders to stay fit.
“It is of interest to the insurance companies that their claims are kept down at both the corporate insurance and consumer level,” he added.
Devices to get you moving
The company recently introduced two new fitness wristbands: the Fitbit Charge 2 (pic, right) and Flex 2.
The Charge 2 offers a larger display, interchangeable bands for greater customisation and a new PurePulse feature that continually tracks a user’s heart rate, making it easier to maximise their workouts and to track the number of calories burned.
Users can get a snapshot of their cardio fitness level with the fitness band with a score based on their estimated VO2 Max, or the maximum oxygen absorption capability of a person’s lungs.
The Charge 2 also offers personalised deep-breathing sessions called “Relax”. These two or five-minute sessions enable users to engage in meditative breathing techniques based on their breathing rate. Fitbit claims that these breathing practices can have health benefits including reduced stress and anxiety as well as a lower blood pressure.
Fitbit’s second new fitness band the Flex 2 is an ultra-slim device that is 30% smaller yet comes with more features including SmartTrack automatic exercise tracking and Reminders to Move, both of which are also featured in the Charge 2.
The Flex 2 is also water resistant for up to 50 meters and can automatically track your pool swims including laps, duration and calories burned.
The Fitbit Charge 2 will be able in late September while the Flex 2 will be available in October with recommended retail prices of RM730 and RM450 respectively.
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