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:

  1. Accountability

    • 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.
  2. Reminders-

    • 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.
  3. Track Changes

    • 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.
  4. Organization-

    • 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.
  5. Competition- 

    • 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 NamePriceBattery LifeWhat does it track?Unique FeaturesApps
Jawbone UP2$99.99Up 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 activeFREE UP App
FitBit Flex$99.95Up 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 milestonesFREE Fitbit App
Garmin Vivofit 2$99.991+ 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 progressGarmin Connect
Mio Fuse$149.99About 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 cyclistsMio Go App
FitBit Charge HR149.95About 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 dashboardFitbit App
FitBit Zip$59.95Replaceable 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 graphsFitbit 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!