How to Pick an Activity Tracker

Find the right gadget for your fitness goals

With all the hard work you put into your exercise routine, it only makes sense to monitor your progress. By taking advantage of technology, it’s easy to keep tabs on calories burned, steps walked and your heart rate. But with so many fitness trackers available, it can be a daunting task to pick the right one for you.

To narrow down your options and make the perfect pick, you need to consider a few vital points.

1. Pinpoint Your Goals
With the boom of fitness gadgets in the market, it’s important to make your needs specific. Do you want to see how your mood is affecting your performance? Then the Nike+ Fuelband might be right for you; it helps you relate your mindset to your activity levels. Or if you want a tracker that goes beyond your fitness pursuits, check out the FitBit. Yes, it keeps track of your activity during the day, but it also senses how much shuteye you get at night and how often you toss and turn.

If you’re not the most motivated exerciser or just getting started on a new routine, the Striiv could be your perfect match. The gadget has several mini apps that motivate you to walk more often. Plus, it shares your progress with friends and has an option for participating in charity walks where donations are made based on the number of people who hit a select activity level.

2. Consider Aesthetics
It may seem like a minor concern, but the look and feel of your new tracker could have a major impact on how much you use it. Armbands are a hassle-free way to keep an eye on your fitness patterns. BodyMedia FIT wraps around your upper arm and allows you to pick from optional displays so you can see the data as you keep moving.

Another option is a tracker bracelet, like the Basis B1. The rubber band is available in black and white and looks like a watch but has the capabilities to monitor heart rate, perspiration and skin temperature. Looking to be discrete? The new Misfit Shine is an elegant personal activity tracker that looks more like a small, silver button than a technology tool.

3. Make a Budget
Not all fitness trackers are created equal, at least when it comes to price. If you’re looking for a cheaper option, Fitbug Orb is a tiny pill-shaped device at only $50. There’s no display on the Orb, but it communicates with your phone or tablet and syncs its data at intervals throughout the day. At $60, the Fitbit Zip is a steal. The tiny clip-on device comes in five colors and comes with a free membership that includes the ability to log and track activity, food, sleep, water, body mass and weight.

Still not ready to commit? There’s an app for that. Apple’s newly launched iPhone 5S has a new M7 coprocessor that works with GPS to constantly track your motion, which can work with your fitness and health apps. Either way you choose to go, you’ll be taking one large (and logged) step to a fitter life. Thanks again, technology.