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Fitness Tracker 101 and How to Choose the Best one for YOU!

A Motivational Fitness Tool

Summer is here which means lots of running around with the kids! You may not have time to hit the gym or go for a run, but you’d be surprised how easy it is to burn some extra calories by keeping track of your steps each day. That’s where a quality fitness tracker comes in handy. There are a lot of fancy gadgets out there which can make the decision a little daunting. However, when you know what to look for, narrowing down your options becomes easier.

What Does a Fitness Tracker Do?

A variety of trackers are available on the market, and their features can vary significantly. The simplest are basic pedometers that track the number of steps taken in a day. More complicated trackers may monitor other sorts of activity and provide estimations of calories burned throughout the day. Some models include calorie counting or meal tracking software. Additionally, a tracker might monitor the user’s sleep habits to identify disruptions and estimate the amount of sleep gotten each night.

Trackers’ proximity to the body allows them to pick up on signals like pulse rate and respiration, which can aid in monitoring health and providing accurate estimates of physical activity. This makes them more useful for many users than the simpler pedometers and activity-tracking smartphone apps on the market.

How a Tracker Can Help with Weight Loss and Wellness

If you’re serious about improving your health, monitoring your behavior is the crucial first step. Most people cannot accurately gauge their real activity levels; they tend to underestimate how much they eat and overestimate how much exercise. Having an objective tracker to monitor behavior and provide useful insights prevents this and can be highly motivating.

Many of these devices come with app integration, allowing you to further customize your experience. For example, if you are using a site like MyFitnessPal to monitor diet and activity, an activity tracker can be synced directly with your account to provide accurate data about your day-to-day habits. This allows you to know exactly how many calories you’ve burned or hours you’ve spent exercising in a week; it also helps you to spot trends over time that might prove useful when it comes to modifying habits and behaviors.

Choosing the Right Tracker

When shopping for an activity tracker, it’s important to know what you’re looking for. A few things to consider include:

  • Price: The first thing to consider with any purchase is usually price. Depending on their features, activity trackers can vary dramatically in price. The high-end models can be an investment of several hundred dollars, but more affordable models are available that might do everything that you need for $100 or less. Before choosing an especially cheap model, however, be sure to do your research; an cheap tracker may break prematurely or simply lack the functionality that you need.
  • Style: The majority of trackers are worn on bands on the upper arm. They are meant to stay in this location all day long and may need to be worn directly against the skin in order to accurately measure things like pulse and body temperature. Be sure to check what metrics a tracker will be monitoring so you know where and how the device should be worn. If you have any problems with wearing a device on your upper arm for mobility or any other reason, it’s worth shopping around to find an alternative.
  • App integration: A variety of wellness apps exist for all manner of smart devices, and many trackers feature app integration. For those who utilize these apps, this can be an especially attractive feature. However, before making the investment in a tracker, be sure that you choose one that’s compatible with the apps you use. If you’d prefer a lower-tech option or just have no interest in apps, you may find a different tracker with similar functionality at a lower price when “smart” technology is not needed.
  • Features: Aside from app integration and wellness tracking, some devices have additional features to consider. Depending on your lifestyle and exercise habits, you may prefer GPS tracking to basic step counting; this can be a useful feature for those who plan to hike, bike or run long distances. A waterproof design is also something you may wish to consider, especially if you get a lot of exercise in the pool.

The best tracker for you will likely be the one that meets all of your requirements while fitting within your budget. There is no reason to spend extra money on features you don’t want, but you should endeavor to choose a tracker of the best quality within your price range. This will ensure that your investment will last long enough to prove valuable on your quest towards a healthier, fitter you.

To see a review of the top trackers for your money, check out http://www.reviews.com/fitness-tracker/

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