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Are Fitness Trackers Worth It?

Fitbit, Jawbones and even Apple Watches are literally tracking your every move...and that's the way we want it! In this technological age, it's become more common to see someone walking around with a fitness tracker on their wrist than an actual watch.

But do these watches actually do anything? Are they actually that helpful?

Before getting into the nitty gritty of the individual watches, it's important to note the overall importance and abilities that all of them have, the most important being accountability.

Fitness trackers allow you to visually see how many calories you've burned, how many steps you have taken and what exercise you've done for the day. Some even include information such as how you slept and your heart rate, as well as give you reminders to get up off the couch and get moving.

Why They Can Be Helpful:

If you sit all day at work, knowing how many steps you've taken each day can be a helpful tool in your fitness journey. First, walking less throughout the day means you burn less calories than you could. In order to lose, maintain or even gain weight, you'll need to change the amount of calories you burn.

Fitness trackers also help keep you accountable. If you’re looking to get in 10,000 steps per day and have only hit 6K, you might consider taking a walk or doing some kind of other physical activity. In addition, many trackers connect to other apps such as the iPhone Health app, MyFitnessPal and other tracking apps to help keep all your health data together. This can help show trends between lack of activity and food intake or lack of change. Many trackers also can show you your sleep patterns and habits, your heart rate and other important health data that can give some insight into why you’re having trouble reaching your goals.

Lastly, they can be fun! Data about your health and fitness is always cool to look. If you have the opportunity to track information, it's nothing short of some extra fun information.

When Not To Wear One

There’s really not too many downsides to wearing a fitness tracker, except that they aren’t always super fashion forward. Almost everyone can benefit from keeping track of their activity. However, if you are someone that needs to see a certain number each and everyday to feel content with your process and progress, you might consider staying away from a tracker too intensely. While it can generate calories burned and steps taken throughout the day, it’s never 100% accurate. Allow for some difference in the day to day. If you have any health concerns that require you to track your heart rate, you’d be better off with a chest strapped heart rate monitor. The different watches and trackers can be slow to update and can also be off in number due to sweat and position of the watch. Which One?

All The Things: The Apple Watch is our highest recommendation if you’re looking to purchase a tracker and don’t mind spending a little money. It’s the most accurate in tracking day to day activity such as steps, calories, etc. and you can also track your workouts directly on the watch to get more accurate data. In addition, the Apple Watch has timers, allows you to play music and of course, connects to your phone. Runner Up: The Fitbit Versa is a little cheaper than the Apple Watch and gives you almost as much information. This watch also adds Fibits “personal coaching.” Fibit has their own app, similarly to Apple, which tracks all of your data and puts it into handy little graphs. The Not as Splashy but Great Option: The Garmin Vivosport looks similar to a Fitbit. It has phone notifications, GPS, heart rate data, and workouts built in that you can just do. The watch itself is pretty simple looking with only a small screen which doesn’t make it look clunky next to your work or formal wear outfits. I Don’t Want to Spend Any Money: Fibit Flex 2 starts around $60. This tracker gets your phone and text notifications, recognizes when you’re exercising and can go in the water. It also boasts an impressive battery life of almost 5 days! This tracker won’t tell you your heart rate (so calorie estimate may be way off) but it will tell you your sleep and steps.

The Takeaway:

If you want to learn more about your health, fitness trackers are a great place to start. They don’t need to be big and expensive to get the job done and get you on track to your goals. Whether or not you use it to get a better idea of your day or just have some info, they can be a great asset to your goals.

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