Fitness trackers are all the rage these days. Not too long ago I remember clip-on pedometers that counted your daily steps and often flew off your clothing after just a few minutes! Fitness technology has changed quite a bit, offering valuable device features like heart rate monitors, sleep trackers, movement reminders, and daily caloric burn calculations. These smart devices don’t just look snazzy, but they are a great addition to your fitness efforts.
The top 5 benefits to wearing a fitness tracker:
- To yourself and others. Take ownership of your goals by tracking your fitness on a daily basis. Most people tend to overestimate their activity level when self-reporting. Wearing a device gives you honest feedback on your fitness and allows others (i.e. coaches, dietitians, trainers, etc.) to also review your progress.
- Physically wearing the device reminds the brain to tell the body to MOVE MORE! Also, some devices offer a quick buzz or light signal when too much time has passed without movement.
- See your abilities change over time. Acknowledging fitness gains in a graphical or other organized manner is a great motivator to keep it up over the long-run.
- Keep all of your records in one place. Be the CEO of your Health. Also, fitness trackers store your data and let you refer back to it.
- Some devices allow you to use external motivation through your friends, family, and co-workers who also use devices. You can watch them just as easily as they can watch you. Social expectations are certainly a potent motivator!
How accurate are these fitness trackers?
To be honest…it doesn’t matter! These are merely tools to encourage behavior change. Having the most high-end device won’t magically pull you off the sofa…sorry to disappoint.
But, if you are curious about the inner-workings and accuracy measures of these devices, please check out this study published in 2014 in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. We know that increasing activity of daily life is just as important as formal exercise for long-term health. Try one out for size and see how you like it!
Summary chart of some of the top fitness trackers on the market:
|Device Name||Price||Battery Life||What does it track?||Unique Features||Apps|
|Jawbone UP2||$99.99||Up to 7 days||-Steps -Workouts -Food logging/diet tracker -Sleep -Calories burned||– Set personalized goals -Leader boards: compare your steps against others -Duels: challenge your friends and family to a duel-Idle alert: set reminders to make sure you’re staying active||FREE UP App|
|FitBit Flex||$99.95||Up to 5 days||– Steps -Distance -Calories burned -Active minutes -Sleep- Log food||– View progress with easy to read charts & graphs -Share stats and compete on the leader board -Earn badges: get goal progress notifications and celebrate fitness milestones||FREE Fitbit App|
|Garmin Vivofit 2||$99.99||1+ year||– Steps -Calories -Distance -Sleep -Heart rate- Calorie tracking w/ MyFitnessPal||– Move bar: gentle alert sounds after one hour of inactivity -As you meet milestones, it adjusts your goal for the next day -Automatically syncs to Garmin Connect to save, plan and share progress||Garmin Connect|
|Mio Fuse||$149.99||About 7 days||– Steps -Pace -Distance -Calories- -EKG- accurate heart rate data for workouts and trainings||– Stores activity data and wirelessly syncs to the app -Customizable display and configurable heart rate zones -Ideal for runners and cyclists||Mio Go App|
|FitBit Charge HR||149.95||About 5 days||– Steps -Miles-Stairs- -Calories burned-Sleep- Heart rate- Exercise activity||– Get continuous, automatic, wrist-based heart rate and simplified heart rate zones -Use exercise mode to easily record workouts, see real time exercise stats and have summaries appear on your dashboard||Fitbit App|
|FitBit Zip||$59.95||Replaceable watch battery lasts up to 6 months||– Steps -Distance -Calories burned- Active minutes||– Tap display: see daily stats and time of day by just tapping the display -Colorful, comfortable, water-resistant clip that fits onto clothing, can fit into pocket- Show progress in easy to read charts and graphs||Fitbit App|
Fitness is vital to living a healthy life. Fitness trackers help you reach your fitness goals by holding you accountable, giving you reminders, showing you change over time, keeping you organized, and providing you with a competitive edge. Try one out and see how it improves your fitness and health over time!