Should I Buy a Fitness Tracker?
Technology has made its way into our most personal of spaces—homes, cars and even our bodies. It used to be that a digital wristwatch with a lap counter was the most high-tech fitness gadget on the market. Today, however, the marketplace is flooded with fitness trackers and apps, and it’s hard to know where to begin or even if they are necessary.
“Fitness trackers can be valuable tools to ensure that you are getting enough physical activity,” says Anne Stancil, owner of Fleet Feet in Tucson, Arizona. “Let’s face it. We rely on tech in pretty much every area of our life, so why not fitness and health?”
Whether or not you should invest in a fitness tracker depends on your goals and the type of information you want to receive. A quality fitness watch not only keeps track of your steps, but can also monitor your heart rate, calorie burn and sleep habits. If you’ve become a bit of a couch potato or spend hours sitting at your desk each day, a fitness tracker can alert you that it’s time to get up and move around.
“With obesity-related disease on the rise and many Americans living a very sedentary lifestyle, fitness trackers provide valuable information and motivation,” explains Stancil. “Some people just don’t know how much – or little – they are moving.”
If you’re looking to improve your health and current fitness level, a fitness tracker is a worthwhile purchase. While downloadable fitness tracking apps for your phone have advantages – they are cheaper – a wearable fitness tracker is a better option if you want a variety of information.
“If you want immediate feedback on how you are doing, then wearing a tracker on your body – like a Fitbit or a Garmin – is more accurate than using a tracking app on your phone,” says Stancil.
For those looking for sports-specific feedback, there are watches that not only track steps and heart rate, but distance, pace/speed and even how many times your feet hit the ground when running, or how many strokes you take when swimming. Many of these include the ability to pair your phone so you can receive texts and other alerts on your watch.
Of course, there is a price to all these wearable computers. Ranging from $50 to more than $700, it’s important to do some research before making a purchase. Seeking the help of an expert can ensure you don’t over or under buy for your needs and budget.
“We ask our customers many questions when assisting with their purchase,” explains Stancil. “When shopping, be prepared to know how you intend to use your watch, what information you want it to tell you and how much you are ready to spend. That will help us make the best recommendation.”
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