Are you getting ready to kick-start a healthy new routine in 2022? If so, it may be time to add a fitness tracker or smartwatch to your workout gear. Fitness trackers are all the rage with their easy-to-use interfaces and key tracking metrics such as calories, steps and even sleep. But how do you know which one is best suited for your personal goals?
Shop TODAY interviewed health and fitness expert Stephanie Mansour on tips on how to maximize your fitness tracker and how to shop for the right model for your lifestyle and health resolutions.
How to shop for the right fitness tracker
The first step to shopping for the right fitness tracker or smartwatch is deciding what exactly you want to track. "Some fitness trackers have breath training, sleep monitoring and heart rate tracking. Others simply track steps, while others focus on food in addition to fitness, and yet others emphasize positive self-talk and affirmations," according to Mansour.
While the purpose of fitness trackers is to help you focus on your routine, they can also help you with accountability when it comes to keeping your wellness goals. "I have many clients who have a few different fitness trackers based on their goals and what they like," said Mansour.
In addition, fitness trackers can also be paired with apps such as MyFitness Pal or LoseIt to track food intake.
What are some common mistakes people make with fitness trackers?
In order to get your money's worth, it's important to verify the features you want with a fitness tracker and smartwatch. Mansour advised to do advanced research and make sure "there’s an easy-to-use app that connects with your tracker so that you can take full advantage of the features offered, whether it be sleep monitoring, calories burned or heart rate tracking."
That being said, most people forget to sync their smartphones with their fitness trackers or find it too challenging to connect. If you are intimidated by technology, Mansour suggested sticking with a fitness tracker that focuses on tracking steps. That way, the user can get used to the device before committing to a more tech-savvy device.
How to maximize the use of your fitness tracker
Mansour suggests wearing your fitness tracker or smartwatch daily in order to get a comprehensive overview of your fitness. "As a weight loss coach, I recommend taking a look at your progress after each workout so that you can see which routines are giving you the intensity and results you want. Then, after a week, look at how consistent you were and analyze that."
The data that a fitness tracker provides will help you focus on adjusting your workout routine while keeping consistent track of your overall progress.
Best wearable fitness trackers, according to shoppers
Fitbit Inspire 2$88.00$99.95$99.95$99.99
Fitbit is practically a household name at this point, so it's no surprise the Inspire 2 is as high-quality as the brand's higher-end models. With three chic colors available and over 31,000 five-star ratings on Amazon, this device tracks steps, distance, calories burned and total active minutes in a day. It can also monitor your sleeping habits and will give you a sleep score so you can get a better idea of your sleep quality every night.
DoSmarter Fitness Watch 1.3” Touch Screen$42.99$48.99
With over 1,400 verified five-star ratings, this fitness tracker is as effective as any smartwatch, thanks to its multifunctional features to keep your exercise and health resolutions on track. The device offers comprehensive features like alerts for abnormal heart activity, monitors blood pressure, records your duration of sleep and exercise routines, tracks your daily steps and more.
Fitbit Ace 3 Activity Tracker for Kids 6+, Blue Astro Green, One Size$74.12$79.95$79.95
Fitbit Ace 3 is kid-friendly for ages 6 and up, helping your little ones learn the importance of staying active and getting sleep. It's not only shower-, spill- and splash-proof, it also features wellness challenges for the whole family and rewards kids for reaching fitness goals with celebratory notes and an achievement badge system.
Fitbit Charge 5 Activity Tracker$149.95$179.95
If you’re looking for an all-around, in-depth tracker that really gets into the science and details, check out this bestseller from Fitbit. The most recent update to this device provides users with real-time pace and distance information when paired with your phone's GPS, guided breathing sessions and advanced capabilities for tracking sleep, including seeing how much light, deep and REM sleep you’re getting each night. The tracker also continuously monitors your heart rate, along with steps, skin temperature, active minutes and calories burned.
Best fitness smartwatches, according to shoppers
Honor Band 5 Fitness Tracker$39.39$37.99
Mansour recommended this basic smartwatch for its combined AI technology and features such as tracking emails, notifications, calls and more. This smartwatch will optimize your basic fitness routine and promote a healthy lifestyle. You can even control your music from it and track your sleep. One shopper even mentioned that the battery can last up to five days.
Apple Watch Starlight Aluminum Case with Sport Band$369.00$399.00
If you're ready to upgrade your Apple Watch (or just want one in general), this latest version acts more like a phone on your wrist than a typical smartwatch. In addition to being able to call, text and listen to music from it, the watch tracks your steps, calories burned, heart rate, sleep and much more. This model is made for health tracking and features an upgraded sensor to measure your blood oxygen levels and a crystal clear retina display so you can always see your stats. Additionally, the Series 7 offers more screen area than its predecessor.
Letsfit Smart Watch$35.97$39.99$59.99$36.79
Most smartwatches are a big investment, but this popular option provides many of the sought-after features without the hefty price tag. It comes in six color options and can track activity, heart rate and sleep. The best part? It has a long-lasting battery, which can go for up to 10 days on one charge, according to the brand.
Garmin Forerunner 245 GPS Smartwatch$224.99$299.99$224.99$299.99
With nearly a five-star rating at Best Buy and Amazon, this smartwatch is ideal for runners striving towards long-term fitness goals. Whether you are working towards a half-marathon or need help monitoring your training activity, this device offers multiple sport activity modes so you can take your workout indoors or outdoors. According to one verified shopper, the smartwatch also offers great "programs for those trying to reach certain milestones."
Polar Ignite Advanced Waterproof Fitness Watch$196.90$229.95$229.95$229.95
Recovery is super important when it comes to your workouts, and this smartwatch will help you ensure that you're carving out enough time to recharge. It monitors your sleep to measure how well you've recovered from yesterday's activities, so you can make an informed decision about intensity for that day's workouts. It also features everything else you'd want from a smartwatch including GPS, heart rate tracking, and the ability to receive texts and other notifications.
Fitbit Versa 3 Smartwatch$229.95$229.95$229.95
At a little higher price the brand's regular fitness trackers, Fitbit's Versa 3 Smartwatch is equipped with a GPS, apps for mood tracking and guided breathing sessions, a quiet sleep alarm and more. Connect the Fitbit Versa to your smartphone for notifications and step-by-step workout coaching. You can also store and play hundreds of songs from the watch when it's synced to Spotify or Pandora. Did we mention it comes in five colors?
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This article was originally published on May 15, 2017.