Since activity trackers first came out, I have had dozens of people ask me which one I recommend. I have always suggested that each person do their own research and decide which features work best for them. Most activity trackers today report steps, heart rate, calories burned, distance, and pace. Below are some specifics reported as a result of an ACE survey from earlier this year.
Trackers that measure steps (basic pedometer): This is a great measure for those people that are more sedentary and have a goal to be more active. These trackers give a person a better idea about how much or little they move. These trackers usually just provide information about the quantity of steps but not the quality of the steps. For example, steps strolling through the mall will not be differentiated from steps taken during a brisk walk.
Trackers that measure calories: These are great for the person than wants to lose weight and needs to see how calories in and out affect weight loss. This is a great tool when teamed up with a food-logging app or just a simple food diary.
Trackers that measure heart rate: These are great for those watching their exercise intensity or for more athletic people who want to gauge one workout against another to improve performance.
Trackers that measure duration, distance, pace: These are great for both beginners and the more athletic person. These trackers measure how long, how fast, and how intensely one exercised during their workout. This allows a person to compare measurable outcomes to improve performance.
The above variables are common in most trackers, but other features are available. Some trackers monitor sleep, information that might be helpful. Other trackers act as a “watch dog” for inactivity by encouraging users to get up and move around to attain their step goal or to break up their sitting/inactivity.
I still recommend you do some homework. Decide what you are looking for in a tracker – do you need all the bells and whistles? Determine what you want to spend. Decide if accuracy matters, as not all trackers have the same accuracy levels. If you just want to compare your steps to the steps you did yesterday, accuracy may not matter. Are you a computer person? If so, maybe you want a tracker that allows you to plot your data. If you want something super simple, maybe a simple pedometer is your best option.
For myself, I have a Garmin that is several years old. I use it when running for checking my distance. I set a distance goal and run in local neighborhoods. Without it, I know I would not run nearly as far.
For more information about setting fitness goals and keeping track of your progress, call Janet at 256-614-3530 or email at email@example.com.
By: Janet Hunt
Janet Hunt is a Certified Personal Trainer and can be reached at 256-614-3530 to schedule an appointment.