Fitness Trackers: What to Look For

12-19-2014 10-56-21 AMFitness trackers may be good tools for helping you reach your fitness goals, including losing weight or training for a marathon. In other words, a fitness tracker may help you reach the finish line. However, not all fitness trackers are equal. You need to look at features such as comfort and an easy-to-use interface in order to decide what will work for you. Remember, you still do the work and this is a tool to track your work.

Tracking Features
Helpful tools found on the various devices available include a step counter, speed/distance tracker, calorie counter, and heart rate monitor. Some even offer sleep monitors. Accuracy is a key component to fitness tracking and some devices perform better than others. The accuracy of your step count and calories burned depends on individual measurements such as your age, height, weight and gender.

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I suggest you decide what you are most interested in tracking and do some comparison of available products by reading reviews and comments. For example, if you want a calorie counter, you want to make sure it is not off by more than 20%. If all you are interested in distance, then you don’t need to pay extra for a heart rate monitor.

When you’re out to walk, run or bike, you don’t want something cumbersome. A fitness device that is lightweight is much more convenient when it sits unnoticed on your wrist or clipped to your workout clothes. If you are adjusting an annoying tracker with every lap, your concentration and workouts will suffer. Many of the best trackers allow you to customize the strap size, swap the band to one of a different material or even carry the device without a band or clip in your pocket. The very best activity trackers are also versatile enough for any activity: jogging, swimming or sleeping.

Again, it is important to know what you want to track in order to find the product that best fits your needs. For example, if you are interested in running or walking, you do not need a tracker that is water resistant unless you plan on swimming.

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The main point of using a fitness tracker device is to enhance your workouts. If your tracker is confusing or hard to use, you will not use your tracker. Even worse, you may be less motivated to reach your goals. Many fitness trackers have built-in screens, history and statistics tracking, and vibrating alarms. Either from the backlit screen or from the easy to use app, you should be able to check your progress at a glance without distracting you from your exercise session.

Apps & Accessories
Almost all new fitness trackers track your movement with the device and then send the information to your smartphone or other online device. Before selecting a fitness tracker, make sure the app has all of the features best applied to your workout and habits. Also, many fitness trackers are only compatible with certain operating systems on either Apple or Android phones, so be sure to check phone compatibility as well.

Depending on your workout habits, choose a fitness tracker with convenient charges, comfortable wristbands, or other wearable accessories.
Help & Support

The best fitness trackers are easy to set up and use throughout their life. For the best support, choose a manufacturer that offers email and phone support so you can ask questions. An included manual, or downloadable instructions, is also great for helping you sync and use your fitness tracker. A lengthy warranty is helpful should your band break or your device malfunction.

Fitness trackers can take the guesswork out of your workout. By letting your device track your heart rate, calories burned and steps taken, you are free to focus on getting in shape and enjoying your health.
By: Janet Hunt
Janet Hunt is a Certified Personal Trainer and can be reached at 256-614-3530 to schedule an appointment.

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