As every aspect of our lives becomes more automated, it’s no surprise that the variety and options of fitness gadgets on the market are growing at an exponential rate. Whether you’re interested in tracking heart rate, calories, miles, steps or blood pressure, there’s a fitness gadget out there to meet your needs. If you’re in the market to digitally and automatically track your fitness journey, Dina Whalen, Fitness Together Lynnfield personal trainer and studio owner, has shared some personal and industry guidelines to help you decipher what’s what in today’s fitness gadget world.
“It’s an exciting time for fitness gadgets right now,” explains Whalen. “There are a lot of great products out there today and I can’t wait to see what’s going to become available over the next couple months and years. Fitness gadgets can be great tools for helping increase people’s workout regimens and keeping them accountable. ”
Identify Your Favorite Activity, Fitness Goals to Find the Best Device
Whalen sees about 25-30 percent of clients in her Fitness Together studio using some sort of fitness gadget to track and monitor activity levels or workouts. The most popular fitness gadgets that she sees people using today include:
- Nike Fuel Band: Keeps your calories in check, tracks your steps throughout the day and allows you to compete with other people by uploading your daily data via a docking system or the cloud. (http://store.nike.com/us/en_us/pw/fuelband/)
- JawBone UP: Tracks food and drink consumption, steps and activity levels and sleep patterns. It also helps you commit to personalized goals, as well as share them with your friends. (http://jawbone.com/store/buy/up24/hbseoFPG74I)
- Strava: This running and cycling online GPS tracking and performance program allows you to track your runs, rides and cross training activities from your Garmin, Android or iPhone. You can view distance maps of your activities, see your time splits from one mile to the next, monitor personal bests and compete with your friends. (www.strava.com)
- Fitness Video Games: Individuals and families alike can increase their fitness levels with various fitness-orientated video games for the Xbox, Wii or PS3. These devices can provide personalized workouts in the privacy of your own home and can be great ways for parents and kids to work out together.
- Smart Scales: These wireless scales not only track weight, body fat percentage and BMI, but they also automatically sync your statistics to online graphs and tools that can help you see the bigger picture as you progress toward your weight loss goals.
Devices Collect Data, Not Solve Problems
Fitness gadgets can be great tools for helping guide you through your fitness journey and motivate you to maintain a consistent level of activity, but you still have to put in the work to meet your health and fitness goals. Buying a fitness gadget won’t solve your internal struggles to live a healthy and fit lifestyle, but it can help you be accountable to yourself and any people you choose to share your fitness information with.
Whalen also stresses the importance of understanding the numbers and information that your gadget is tracking so that you can use it effectively to meet your goals. If you don’t know what the appropriate range is for your specific heart rate or if you get caught up in comparing numbers with other people who may have different goals and body types, then you may not be using your fitness gadget in the most effective manner.
“You need to understand what maximum heart rate is and what all of the numbers you’re monitoring mean specifically to you,” explains Whalen. “Our Fitness Together trainers help our clients understand what their heart rate and other levels should be during different activities so they can effectively use their fitness gadgets while training and throughout their everyday life.”
It’s All About the Cloud
As fitness gadgets continue to provide ease of use for people to track, store and share their health and fitness levels, the fitness band wearable market will continue increasing in popularity. As technology continues to evolve, such as the ability to automatically upload and store data in the cloud, the possibilities for advancing the functionality of fitness gadgets will evolve as well. Looking forward, Apple will soon be releasing their much anticipated health and fitness gadget, the iWatch, which may be a game changer in the industry as it will track more than just activity levels and basic heart rate information. This comprehensive health tracker is anticipated to detect more in-depth body and health functionality, as well as detailed fitness activity levels.
“The new technology that Apple is planning to release soon is going to be a game changer because it’s going to track health markers like blood pressure and glucose levels,” explains Whalen. “I don’t know the full extent of it because they really haven’t given out a lot of information yet, but what I’ve seen looks pretty cool. It’s going to show us a lot of different things that we never thought were possible.”
It’s definitely an exciting time for the fitness gadget market and time will only tell what’s in store for the future of tracking, monitoring, storing and sharing your health and fitness information.