Live Healthier with Microsoft Band

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Earlier this year I started the Couch to 5K workout program. Again. I am a three time dropout, having falling short of the 5k run goal in the past. But this time was different. I was (and am) truly committed to getting healthier and not making excuses. I am proud to say I am now a Couch to 5K graduate and am even working on building up to running a 10K. Throughout the journey, I've been looking for tools to help create and achieve attainable fitness goals. The Microsoft Band fits the bill.

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Designed as the first device for the Microsoft Health platform, the Microsoft Band is designed specifically to help you live healthier and be more productive. It's far more than a fitness tracker, with the ability to help you achieve your wellness goals by tracking your heart rate, steps, calorie burn, and sleep quality. But the technology doesn't stop there. The Band also works with your phone to push notifications and calendar alerts so you're always connected and as productive as you want to be.

Microsoft Band: Live Healthier Video

Using Microsoft Band

The Microsoft Band is designed to wear all day, every day. It is built to survive whatever you throw at it and can be worn facing out (how I usually wear it), or facing with the screen on the inside of your wrist. The main health feature of the Band that I rely on is the step tracker. I have my Band set up to show the time and my step count on the "Me Tile" - the screen I see when I turn on or "wake up" the Band.

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You can personalize the Band to show different indicators (Day of the Week, Distance, Calories, Heart Rate or Step Count). Additionally, you can select different wallpapers and colors to make it your own.

Working Out with Microsoft Band

Microsoft Band has onboard GPS so you can run or walk without your phone. This is huge! Of course, if you prefer to use the GPS on your phone you can change the settings on the Band so it will communicate with your phone via Bluetooth. The Run Tracking will track great information for runners, whether you're a beginning or more experienced. It maintains your route, pace, distance, duration, splits and even calories burned broken down by carbs versus fat. This information is saved and will sync up with your phone (and the Microsoft Health app) when you're back in Bluetooth range.

 Getting ready to run. Chose from workout type to best track your exercise.

Getting ready to run. Chose from workout type to best track your exercise.

In addition to tracking your exercise, the Microsoft Band also tracks your heart rate and sleep. This may not be information you think about on a regular basis, but they are important pieces in your health and wellness puzzle. The Microsoft Band has an optical heart rate sensor that tracks your heart rate with accuracy - and without you having to think about hooking up any extra equipment, like a chest strap. Additionally, the 24-hour heart rate monitoring enables the Band to provide an accurate picture of your calories burned. It's really interesting to see how your body is working throughout the day!

Increased Connectivity with the Band

One aspect of the Band I didn't expect to enjoy or appreciate as much as I do is the notifications. Calls, texts and emails all pop up on my Band giving me a quick glance at what's going on. This is one area where it really benefits you to personalize to your preferences. You can go all in and connect the Band with networks like Facebook and Twitter, in addition to your phone calls, texts and emails, so you never miss a darn thing. Or, you can go into zen mode when you work out and turn off notifications via the mobile app.

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If you use a Windows Phone you even have access to Cortana - the digital assistant - to set up reminders through the built-in microphone, or add to your to do list without ever touching your phone.

When the Microsoft Band originally arrived, I wasn't sure if I would use it or let my husband take custody of it. He's still sad I won't share the Surface Pro 3! But, after using it a few days I was totally hooked and it's mine, all mine. I am still trying to figure the best ways to make it part of my every day life, and dealing with Bluetooth connectivity issues with my iPhone, but there's no denying the information it provides is extremely helpful. And rewarding. There's nothing like setting a steps goal and surpassing it! Or seeing an increase in the miles I run, after working for every single stride. If you're working to be healthier, take it one step at a time and track them all with the Microsoft Band.

Shop! The Microsoft Band is $200 and available in three sizes.

The Shopping Mama was not paid for this post. We do receive samples through the Microsoft Blogger Program.

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