Get fit, stay fit: Do you have the right fitness tracker for you?

Lana Bandoim's picture
fitness tracker

The variety of fitness trackers on the market today can make it hard to know which one suits your needs. Is there an ideal tracker for biking or running? Does a better app for tracking sleep and other health metrics exist? The following tips about a few of the top fitness trackers on the market can help you pinpoint the right product for you.

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Step Counting Master

One of the main features that has helped fitness trackers gain popularity is their ability to count your steps. However, for a product that typically costs $100 or more, that is not an especially robust benefit package. On the other hand, the rise of sedentary lifestyles has made being able to keep an eye on how many steps you take per day a worthwhile undertaking. In general, the recommended number of steps per day is estimated to be 10,000 for those who wish to consider themselves active. This is about twice as many steps as the average American takes. A tracker can provide the motivation you need to increase your activity levels.

If you are only interested in a device that counts your steps, then you have a plethora of options. Most of the fitness trackers on the market can do this, and you can use your iPhone to get health apps. If you are set on a wearable tracker for this function, then you may want to consider a basic model. Wareable recommends the Jawbone UP2 for step tracking, sleep monitoring and alarms.

On the other hand, if you are counting steps but are also a hardcore runner, then you might want a device that is more high tech. The Moov is an option if you are interested in a tracker that doubles as a running coach. Alternatively, many runners have flocked to the Fitbit Surge. With a top-notch heart monitor, the Fitbit Surge is also great for registering cardio workouts that are not step-dependent. Considered to be more of a smartwatch than a fitness tracker, the Surge is the best of both worlds.

App Excellence

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The Fitbit is growing in popularity thanks to its app design and range of options. This is in part because some of the Fitbit devices do not display any information but load it on the app to be reviewed. This all-function app tracks calories, is set up for sharing fitness data and even has exercise related gaming.

However, the Fitbit has not cornered the app market, and Jill Duffy vouches for the features offered by Argus and Moves. These apps can be used independently of a wearable device, but this limits their convenience and how much they can do. For anyone engaged in activities more rigorous than a brisk walk, a single app will likely not be enough.

Tracking Other Activities

If you participate in activities beyond running and walking, then there are more factors to consider in choosing a fitness tracker. Cyclists, for example, have difficulty finding the best way to monitor their activity. Before buying a fitness tracker, cyclists should look for devices that are specifically designed for their sport. The Fitbit Surge will work for many cyclists, but more intense riders will do better with the Garmim Vivoactive, or something made specifically by a cycling company such as Mio Global.

Swimmers can also run into more limitations when choosing a fitness tracker. Obviously, the first feature that swimmers should look for is a tracker that is waterproof. However, a waterproof tracker is not enough if it cannot understand the motions involved in swimming. Among the different trackers available, the TomTom Multi-Sport may help you keep tabs on your swimming.

Stay Price Conscious

Considering the variety of fitness trackers on the market today, it is important to establish the features you must have and compare different devices. If you sort your list into necessary features, desirable features, and must-have features, then you can compare different trackers side by side and determine which one is the best option. In addition, you do not want to pay for features you will not use. By keeping these rules in mind, you will avoid wasting money on a fancy tracker that baffles you more than it helps you.

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