Going for a Walk? Don’t Forget your Fitness Tracker!

How many times have you thought … Monday is the Day! … 30 minutes of exercise? How will I fit that into my schedule between work and taking care of the kids?

Let’s face it: getting (or staying) in shape is intimidating.

The Surgeon General’s recommended thirty minutes of exercise may seem impossible to fit into your already-busy schedule, but you don’t have to do it all at once! Instead of viewing it as one (1) half-hour deviation from your day, break the time into shorter bursts and set a goal for the entire day.

Still can’t manage to incorporate a new fitness program into your routine? That’s okay. You are already doing something that will get you one step closer to being in shape: walking. It may not seem like a heart-pumping exercise, but it doesn’t have to be. It’s all about the number of steps you take. Ten thousand steps is a rough equivalent to the needed 30–60 minutes of movement each day.

Luckily, we live in a world in which technology exists to help us. Fitness trackers are great tools for helping us count our steps. Most fitness trackers are bracelets or clips that measure steps taken and distance covered in a day. A simple pedometer is a great and affordable option for tracking steps.

However, more advanced fitness trackers analyze more than just steps taken. FitBit, JawBone, Apple, and Garmin are just a few brands that make fitness trackers–there are tons to choose from. These high-tech trackers measure steps, calories in, calories out, sleep quality, and more. Some fitness trackers even have heart rate capabilities to measure calories burned through forms of exercise that don’t involve walking or running.

So which one should you choose? Well, it depends entirely on your needs and your technological savvy. Simple is often best to keep you on target. Don’t overwhelm yourself with extra “bells and whistles” you don’t need.

Most trackers sync with an app on your mobile device or computer and allow you to monitor your progress throughout the day. Not surprisingly, the less expensive trackers are also simpler: the FitBit Zip ($49.95) is a clip-on tracker that monitors steps, distance, calories burned and active minutes. The FitBit Surge ($199.95), however, is the ultimate fitness watch: it tracks distance, pace, heart rate, calories, sleep, and even allows you to sync your music, calls, and texts from your mobile device.

Most trackers also have an interactive feature: you can add friends on the mobile app and challenge one another to fitness face-offs. Not into group fitness? You can also embark on individual challenges and earn badges for your healthy accomplishments.

Before you purchase a fitness tracker, consider what you’ll be using it for. This chart from Dick’s Sporting Goods provides a helpful comparison of some of the different fitness trackers. Find one that feels comfortable on your wrist or clothing–it doesn’t matter how many fancy features a tracker has, you aren’t going to wear it if it’s constantly annoying you.

Wearable technology is moving in the right direction. It has never been easier to set a fitness goal and actually see yourself working toward it each day. If you feel like you’re lacking motivation, a fitness tracker may be just what you need to get you back on track!

Meg Stanley is a partner in BestSelf Fitness, a fitness training and lifestyle coaching firm in Columbia, SC, and she’s a Certified Personal Fitness Trainer. After retiring from her own association and issues management consulting business, Meg wanted her personal experience with weight management, sports injuries, and positive lifestyles to benefit others. Meg challenges herself with a variety of workouts and achieves her goals through endurance and determination.  She also enjoys running half marathons, paddle boarding, boating, and cooking for her family and friends.


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