Friday Find: Microsoft Band

Last month when I was in Seattle at the Office Champions Summit, I learned about the Microsoft Band. And at the risk of sounding like a complete weirdo, the Band has become my new BFF. Easy to set up (just pop it out of the box, sync to your phone, and download the Microsoft Health app), the Band spans both wellness and productivity (more on that in a second) and syncs with Windows Phone, Android, and iPhone. (And if you're using it with a Windows Phone, you can take notes and set reminders by voice using Cortana. WHAT?!)

There's a lot of stuff you can do with the Band, but here are the two major reasons why it has become my new BFF:

1. GUIDED WORKOUTS. While, yes, you can measure heart rate, steps, calorie burn, and sleep, the HUGE win for me is the guided workouts. The Microsoft Health app currently includes 128 workouts spanning strength, bodyweight, running, and biking. Extra cool is that the app includes instruction videos right in the workout details (e.g., strength training moves). Simply select a workout to download to your Band and the Band will lead you through the workout, buzzing and instructing you at each transition step. These guided workouts have made it so easy to try new things. So far I've tried The Flat-Stomach Formula (a series of different planks), Get-Fit Real-Quick Workout (dumbbell and bodyweight training), 30 Minutes of Intervals (speed training), and Interval Running Plus (speed training + strength). And I've needed to LAY DOWN DEAD after all of them. SO GOOD.

2. FRIENDLY REMINDERS. On the productivity side, among other features, the Band alerts you when you get texts and calendar notifications, which I've found enormously helpful because I often lose track of my phone or get completely immersed in a project. So when the Band buzzes to tell me IMPORTANT CLIENT MEETING! or IT'S TIME TO PICK UP LAUREL FROM SCHOOL! (because it's synced to my calendar) well, that's really, really helpful.

There's lots more you can monitor and do with the Band, but the above two features alone make it a killer wellness/productivity tool. As someone for whom running is a prime focus of activity, I've always known that I should be balancing running off with other strength training (particularly given the osteoperosis potential) but I've struggled to find a way to motivate myself to do it with any consistency. The Band has totally helped me do that. Thank you, BFF.

Image credits: Amazon