What social platform motivates you the most to get fit? Do they even work? It appears so especially with the likes of every major fitness tracker integrating some sort of competition into your daily workout routine.
Competitive fitness challenges are a great way to introduce motivation when it starts to wane. There's nothing like earning bragging rights over your friends when you beat them in a calorie burning challenge or win over most steps taken in a day.
But it needs to be simple. Motivating yourself to exercise is already hard enough and requires a lot of mental pushing to keep moving. The social platforms need to be easy and allow you to hop right into a friendly competition, not be another barrier to entry.
Essential reading: Fitbit Blaze review
Fitbit has a huge following so it's no surprise its fitness social platform would be a great addition - chances are, you'll know someone with a Fitbit. However, it doesn't let those non-wearable users or that small percentage of people without a Fitbit join in on the fun. After all, what if you don't want to use a Fitbit Alta but you still want to challenge friends for best fitness prowess? That's why it almost made the list, but didn't quite fit in any of our categories.
Jawbone and Microsoft however, are making leaps and bounds by allowing entertaining exercise become a daily habit with their social features.
WEAR - Jawbone
Jawbone introduced Duels awhile ago and it's pretty similar to Fitbit's challenge system. By using research from behavioral scientists and game designers, Jawbone's built a system that motivates users to keep moving. Battles can last however long you want whether it's 24 hours, a week or three days. It then uses the Smart Coach System to give you tips on how to win your next duel.
The best part? You don't even need a Jawbone tracker to use it. The UP app can even be used on an Apple Watch, Android Wear device, Pebble or simply by downloading it on your phone. In that sense, everyone wins.
NEARLY THERE - Microsoft
Microsoft's just rolled out its social platform so it's hard to tell just how well it will work. However, just like Jawbone, its ability to let you connect up to the social side without a Microsoft Band 2 or original Band gives it a leg up.
Using the Microsoft Health app might be good enough for people to join in and start pushing each other to exercise. It's simple - the only competition you'll find is between steps and calories - but good enough to get started.
But if you do have a Band connected, you'll be able to compete on levels beyond just step counting including cycling - which is great for people who want to compete with different activities.
SQUARE - Garmin
Garmin devices are pretty incredible but here's where we can talk about complicated platforms. On first glance, the Garmin app looks great - we've even called it a "social beast."
But it's be bit too beastly. Though it may be good for some, it's not really that helpful or really fun for others. Garmin is targeted at the hardcore runners and athletes so it's not entirely an entry level device or app. Still, it doesn't look that appealing if you're presented with too many things to sift through.
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