Best Fitness Tracker Buying Tips
I recently started a new job in a small office which I now refer to as “The Land of the Fit.” The company mostly consists of singles in their late twenties with no kids and all the free time in the world to work out, plus expendable income to eat organic, healthy food at every meal.
I would consider my muffin top to be the most organic thing about me and a true symbol of my dedication to physical fitness. But as my waistline has expanded a couple inches since my kids were born, I feel like maybe this is an opportunity to give into peer pressure in a positive way. I’m starting by getting a fitness tracker.
These are some helpful hints in choosing a fitness tracker that’s right for you.
The first thing I noticed is the enormous selection of fitness trackers available on the market. There’s one called a Misfit Flash Link which at $19.99 is about as basic as it gets. Then there are options like the Fitbit Surge that run around $249.95. That’s a big difference in price, so understanding the features that are important to you will help to determine what price range you’ll be in.
How Do You Want to Wear It?
Some options are worn on the wrist like a bracelet while others can be clipped on. In interviewing some of my co-workers, I discovered that neither option works for everyone. One woman prefers the clip-on because she can put it discreetly on her waistband or bra strap. Most of the other women preferred the wrist version because they are used to wearing watches and bracelets.
Keep in mind: Most clip-on fitness trackers don’t track sleep time or sleep quality.
Do You Need A Heart Rate Monitor?
The simple fact is that built-in heart rate monitors will jack up the price on your fitness tracker. Most people don’t really need them. Checking your own pulse with a smartphone app is easy and possibly free. Check out this article on WebMD to learn about whether a heart rate monitor is important for you.
Keep in mind: The Fitbit Surge, which was listed earlier as one of the pricier options. But it is also rated as one of the premier fitness trackers featuring a heart rate monitor. It uses incredibly accurate tracking to monitor calorie burn. Read more about trackers and watches with heart rate monitors here.
Do You Want Sleep Tracking?
Depending on the tracker you choose, you can track how much you’re rolling around while you’re sleeping, REM cycles, and light and deep sleep cycles. In most cases, the more advanced the sleep tracking is, the more expensive the device will be.
Keep in mind: While tracking your sleep is useful and interesting, many people have complained about the trackers being cumbersome and uncomfortable to sleep in.
What Do You Want to Track?
I’m not what most people would describe as “physically fit.” I’m certainly not going to be running marathons, nor do I have the desire to. But I would like to get in better shape and would like to count how many steps I’m taking each day. There are plenty of trackers out there designed for my eager friends and co-workers who want to be running and tracking their every move. There are even waterproof devices to keep up with swimmers.
Keep in mind: Scroll to the end of this article and look for a breakdown of the best trackers for your activity level.
Still stuck? Choosing a fitness tracker is an investment in your health, so finding the right one is important. If you’ve done your research and still can’t choose, try this simple flow chart that could possibly get you on the path.