If you have ever thought of investing in an activity tracker, it is important to weigh out the benefits as compared to other options.
There are many that will claim there is no price you can put on your health, which I believe is true. It is crucial to make decisions that support a healthy lifestyle now in order to prevent any future issues that you can. In that way, many people have invested in activity trackers as a means to be more active and reach their fitness goals. If you have ever considered purchasing an activity tracker, like Fitbit or Jawbone, the good news is that you are paying attention to how your daily habits affect your overall health, and hopefully working towards improving those habits.
More good news is that they are numerous options out there that will help you with your goals, including the very popular activity trackers and apps. However, in terms of not sacrificing your health or your wallet, I have weighed out what I believe are some of the pros and cons of these devices and resources, in case you are unsure if a tracker is right for you.
The Benefits of Activity Trackers
Activity trackers like FitBit are becoming more and more popular each day. In fact, experts expect their sale to increase from 29 million to 172 million within the next three years. Trackers help many people get a handle on their health habits. They are a versatile and convenient way to motivate you to be more active by displaying your daily steps, distance, calories burned and stairs climbed. However, trackers become useless unless you are already motivated to improve. They are just an aide in helping you reach your goals, not your goal itself. For this reason it is estimated about 1/3 of consumers stop using their tracker less than a year after purchasing it. In addition, there are some cheaper options with more accuracy out on the market.
There are thousands of inexpensive if not free fitness apps you can install on your phone with very similar features to an activity tracker. Some research even suggests that these apps are more accurate at recording and calculating data. The main sacrifice here is convenience. It may not always be feasible for you to carry around your phone, especially while you are active, or even check it throughout the day.
Fitness is Not the Only Key to Good Health
I have comprised a list of suggested trackers and apps as a starting point to help make the right decision for you. Again, the important thing is that you are making changes that will help you improve your health. It is up to you, no matter what devices or resources you may use, to implement these changes. Also, keep in mind that fitness is only one component of optimal health – think of the three aspects we highlight here at HealthFirst: body, mind and nutrition.
Recommended Activity Trackers
Fitbit Charge HR
- In addition to the usual tracking features, this version of the Fitbit also provides heart rate monitoring. You can also earn badges for reaching milestones to motivate you further. However, you do still have to log your other workouts other than walking.
- This tracker provides that most versatility in how you choose to wear it since it is a small, aluminum piece you can add to a band or clip. The Misfit Shine can track all of your activities in addition to sleeping, cycling and swimming up to 50 meters. It also contains a replaceable battery so there is no need to charge it. The app is necessary to view any hard data though, as the device itself only shows a bar tracking how close you are to your goals.
- I may be biased, but since its update earlier this year, this free app from Google acts as good as any tracker to me. You do have to have your phone on you, but you can set goals, record your weight, and view weekly and monthly summaries of your progress.
- Free for Android
Map My Fitness
- Since 2007, Map My Fitness has established itself as a credible health and fitness app. In addition to tracking activities, you can also use this to log your nutrition. New features include setting challenges for yourself or your friends and tracking your workout gear so you know when to replace it.
- Free for iOS, Android, Windows