How the Nike+ SportBand Works

Personal trainer and motivational speaker, Jonathan Ross explains how fitness activities don't have to be specific to a gym environment.
Discovery Health

We grumble. We procrastinate. We try fad diets. Of course, ultimately, weight loss comes down to burning more calories than you consume. But working out can be tough! Building up the motivation to exercise is the first great hurdle. Since the 2000s, technology has started to do its part in getting us up off the couch, out of the office and into the park for some bodily movement. Nike was one of the first companies to offer exercise tracking technology with Nike+, which uses a motion sensor to track the wearer's workout sessions and automatically catalog important information like calories burned, distance traveled and time spent working up a sweat.

Nike+ and other exercise tracking systems are designed to motivate you. Nike+ lets you set goals for your workouts, helps you promote your successes to social networks and features friends lists so you can challenge your pals. When you can't have a workout buddy, being able to post scores and compete with your friends is the next best thing. Beyond motivation, these devices make exercising simpler. You're still going to have to put in the physical labor, but they'll take care of the number crunching by timing your workouts and figuring out how much exercise you're actually getting.

Nike+ began as a collaboration between Nike and Apple that worked with iPods, but it's since grown to include a number of devices like the Nike+ SportWatch GPS, FuelBand and SportBand. The SportBand was Nike's first addition to the Nike+iPod product line. What does that mean? Well, it's cheaper -- and a bit more limited -- than some later Nike+ accessories like the SportWatch. The SportBand is essentially a convenient display for exercise tracking data. Without a separate Nike+ sensor, it can't track your steps or burned calories -- it's just a digital watch.

At only $59 as of mid-2012, the SportBand is appropriately cheaper than the rest of the Nike+ line. We'll get into the why on the next page with the SportBand's hardware, then move onto the calorie-counting software and comparisons between the SportBand and Nike's newer FuelBand.