Activity Trackers are so Yesterday, Mindfulness is the New Hot Thing

FitBit debuted on September 9, 2008 at the TechCrunch50, to rave reviews. Now in 2016, it’s gone through almost a dozen iterations and can still be seen on the wrists, or in the pockets of techies throughout the Bay Area. But is it slowing down in popularity? Are people getting tired of keeping track of every single step they take?516l15489204048_5f77eb4364_z

A new offering called Spire seems to think so. It’s an activity tracker, sure, but the activity it’s tracking is your breathing. The idea behind it is that how you’re feeling is what controls your breathing, and what signals your body whether or not you’re stressed.

The co-founder of Spire is also the director of the Calming Technology Lab at Stanford University, so this is a tracker with a lot of strong research to back up its claims. Instead of vibrating to remind you to take an extra step, it sends alerts to your phone to pay attention to your breathing when it senses that your breathing is too shallow, fast, or strained. This alert helps individuals practice ‘mindfulness’ – being aware of how the situation they’re in, stress, affects their physical well-being. Here are the three other ways Spire claims to increase mindfulness.

Smartphone Alerts

The Spire is a small tracker, just like a FitBit – but fancier looking – that fits in someone’s waistband or bra. When the Spire senses that the individuals breathing is signals a raised level of stress or anxiety, it sends an alert to their Smartphone. The App that goes along with Spire is what makes it (in my opinion) more robust than other activity trackers. It shows not just the steps someone has used, but notices when their breathing increases when they’re not active, triggering stress hormones. This alert will lead the user to other parts of the app, like…516iphone-410311_1280

Health Tracker

Spire has an old school style health tracker, just like FitBit. The user can look at their steps, calories burned (or not), heart rate, all the mainstream physical stuff. But, Spire is about mindfulness. This is where it gets unique. It wants the user to understand why their breathing has increased, and why their heart rate has suddenly gone up. Because this is the Bay Area, it’s usually a result of workplace stresses (of course!) so they’ve added something cool…

Guided Meditation

The App has guided meditations by Thich Nhat Hanh’s Plum Village Monastery, as well as breathing exercises with Deepak Chopra. If someone is dedicated to making this work for them, this tracker and App has everything anyone would need to make mindfulness work for them – daily walk or not!

What do you think about the Spire tracker? A fast track to awesome, or just another tired marketing ploy for a fitness App that should be seen as an everyday activity, anyway? Let us know in the comments below!

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