Wearable technology has come a long way in recent years. The original pedometer tracked steps, but today’s wearable fitness trackers allow you to monitor not only your steps, but also miles, calories, heart rate, sleep, food and more — all with the goal of helping you live a more active, healthy life.
With so many devices to choose from at a variety of price points, it can be difficult to know which one has the right features to help you accomplish your goals. Here are a few tips for choosing the best fitness tracker for you:
Know your goals. Before you purchase a fitness tracker, know what your goals are and what you want the tracker to do for you. What activities do you enjoy most? Whether it’s swimming or running, there is a tracker designed for that activity.
Choose a design. Your goals and activity of choice can also help to determine how you want to wear your tracker. Some are worn as bands on the wrist, while others clip onto clothing or can be worn around the ankle or on the laces of your shoes.
Make a list of must-have features. Nearly every fitness tracker available tracks steps and calories. Make a list of other must-have features, such as sleep tracking, measuring distance, counting flights of stairs, monitoring heart rate or GPS.
Read up on apps. An important component of any fitness tracker is its mobile app, which displays your synced data. Many apps allow you to track your diet with a food log, estimating calories and nutritional facts for the food you eat. Others let you log details of your workout. Some fitness trackers can be synced to third-party apps, such as MyFitnessPal or MapMyRun.
It’s also important to check compatibility between your mobile device and the fitness tracker you choose. Most are designed to work with iOS and Android, but if you have a Windows Phone, you will be more limited in your choices.
Fitness trackers to choose from
Now that you know what to look for, here’s an outline of some of the best fitness trackers available today.
A wristband, sports watch and GPS in one, the Fitbit Surge tracks heart rate and daily activity including steps, distance, calories burned, floors climbed and active minutes. Its Multi-Sport mode also allows you to track runs, bike rides and other workouts. With Fitbit Surge, you can see call and text notifications on the display, control your mobile playlist, monitor your sleep and set a silent alarm. The Fitbit Surge is compatible with Windows, Mac, Android, iOS and web.
The Mio Fuse wristband tracks heart rate, sleep and activities including steps, calories, distance, pace and goal progress. Customize your display and configure heart rate zones to help you stay on target. If you’re a swimmer, the Mio Fuse is a great option to consider — it’s waterproof up to 30m/3 ATM/100ft. With a low price point of $129, the Mio Fuse is a great option if you’re on a budget. Mio Fuse is compatible with Android and iOS.
Garmin Vivoactive HR
This GPS smartwatch from Garmin goes above and beyond tracking the standard heart rate, steps, calories and stairs climbed. This tracker comes with built-in sports apps to help you track nearly any activity, including running, biking, swimming, rowing or paddle boarding, skiing or snowboarding and even golf. Receive phone and text notifications, view weather information and control the music on your phone, all from the smartwatch. This device is compatible with Windows, Mac, Android and iOS.
If it’s simplicity you’re looking for, you might consider the Jawbone UP2. With a price point under $100, the Jawbone UP2 is easy to use and covers the basics, including steps and calories, food logging and sleep tracking. The Jawbone UP2 also has a slim and stylish design, making it just as fashionable as it is practical. The Jawbone UP2 is compatible with most iOS and Android devices.
Designed to be a personal coaching device, the Moov Now is geared toward advanced sports training plans, with running, swimming, boxing and cycling data to help you improve your performance. Moov Now analyzes and coaches your form, talking to you as you work out. It also works as a daily activity and sleep tracker. Moov Now is also affordable at just $79.99. This device is compatible with Android and iOS.
These are only a handful of the fitness trackers available. Each brand has various models to choose from depending on your activities and goals. Take your time and research all the options available before making a purchase.