Getting into shape, losing weight, and moving more each day are all really tough to do. An activity tracker can help, though. Seeing how much exercise you get (or don’t get), day-by-day and week-by-week, can motivate you to start taking the stairs more or walking the dog an extra lap around the block. At the very least, it will make you more mindful of your present activity level, which is a huge first step to getting fit.
The best fitness trackers on the market today are highly evolved cousins of pedometers from yesteryear. They’re smarter, more accurate, and do a whole lot more than measure how much you walk. Paired with a companion Web account, mobile app, and maybe a few auxiliary devices, they give you better insight into the habits that make up your lifestyle, including sleep, calorie consumption, heart rate, blood pressure, and more. And many fitness tracker are waterproof for swimming.
New devices turn up on online shopping sites every month. But not all of them track everything you’d expect, and not all are worth your money. If you’re shopping for your first activity tracker, I encourage you to find one that will be best for you and your needs. Take a look at my advice for how to choose a fitness tracker for more help on that front.
If you’ve owned an activity tracker before, you might have a better idea of what you want in a new one, but if you need to shake up your routine, I’d recommend getting a tracker with a heart rate monitor. Two that I love are the Basis Peak andMio Fuse, and both are Editors’ Choice products. The Basis is great for everyday activities, including bicycling, and it has sleep-tracking, too. The Mio Fuse is more for athletic types because its heart rate monitor has unique features that make it excellent for heart rate training. Fuse also tracks pace when you run and has a stopwatch feature (the Basis Peak does not), although Fuse lacks sleep-monitoring functionality.
If you’re only dipping your toe into the fitness tracking movement for the first time, don’t feel bad about starting with a simpler device, like the Misfit Flash or Jawbone UP Move. These low-cost options will let you get a taste for the basics of activity tracking without spending a fortune.
Whether your health goals are modest or you’re hoping for a full fitness transformation, using a personal fitness tracking device can go a long way toward helping you understand if the exercise and health habits you keep are contributing to the new you.