How to Choose the Best Fitness Tracker for Your Lifestyle

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Everyone seems to be documenting their physical activity these days, and who can blame them? It’s a great way to keep your health in check while getting the most out of your workouts. What used to be the stuff of sci-fi movies is now reality – but how do you decide which one is the best fitness tracker for your lifestyle?

With the huge range of wearable trackers that are available, the research process is inevitably overwhelming (especially since every fitness tracker is going to be screaming at you, “Pick me! Pick me!”). Here are some things to keep in mind before you take the plunge:

1. Define your “why”

Before choosing the best fitness tracker, define exactly why you want one: What health goals are you planning on keeping track of? What aspects of your lifestyle do you want to improve? I used to have this terrible habit of buying things that suited the me I was fantasizing about becoming one day – and you know, wasting fistfuls of money. Plus, certain types of monitors will work better for certain activities and some are more discreet if you’re wanting to wear yours to work.

2. Choose your type

There are oodles of fitness trackers out there, from a basic step counter to the more sophisticated ones that practically make breakfast for you. (Kidding, but wouldn’t that be ah-mazing?) Some of the standard functions include a pedometer to count your steps, an activity tracker that catalogs your entire body of movement (very useful if you have a sedentary job), a heart rate monitor, calorie burn counter and sleep monitor.

3. Choose your style

Fitness trackers are usually bracelets, watches or clip-on devices – which style best suits your needs? Bracelets and watches are harder to lose, but they’re not exactly discreet and can get in the way when you’re typing or cleaning, or you know, attempting to look fashionable. Clip-on devices are smaller and can be worn on a belt loop or on your bra, which is fabulous… until you forget it’s there and accidentally put it through the washing machine.

4. Choose your budget

Fitness trackers tend to run between $99 and $199, but like everything else – the more you pay doesn’t necessarily equal better quality. In fact, a recent study found the most accurate fitness trackers turned out to be the more reasonable ones. Cha. Ching. Instead, focus on the features that are most important to you, comparing such things as wearability, battery life, warranty, and whether or not it’s waterproof.

5. Commit

Even when you do find the best fitness tracker for your lifestyle, the data will only be useful if you commit to using it regularly; one day of data here and there won’t cut it. The whole point is to look for trends in your activity patterns and continually tweak your routine for optimal results - and in order to do so, you'll need optimal data.

Have you found the best fitness tracker for your lifestyle?

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