Wearable Fitness Trackers: Things to Know Before Investing in a Tech-Based Health Assistant
Taking charge of your wellness can begin with wearable technology
Everyone’s health is on their mind right now. But for some, it’s literally on their body, too. Fitness trackers, introduced in 2009 as mostly step counters and calorie-burning estimators, are becoming more commonplace every day as people take charge of their own wellness.
If you’re not a workout fanatic or an elite athlete, are these products worth investing in? Read on for information to help you choose wisely.
What sort of devices are these?
Fitness trackers started out as a pretty simple band that you wore around your wrist. Wrist trackers have evolved to include screens and smartphone capabilities, often mimicking a watch. They’re also available as a “smart ring”.
What gets tracked?
In addition to counting steps and calories, wearables can track sleep, heart rate, blood pressure, perspiration, body temperature, specific workout activities (“reps”, personal bests, recovery periods), distance traveled and location, flights of stairs, active versus resting time, UV exposure, even specific health concerns such as ECG monitoring or diabetes. Your wearable can also alert you when you’ve been inactive too long.
Much of the data tracked can be forwarded to a doctor. Now that telehealth visits are becoming more common, a dependable way for your healthcare provider to view your current vitals can be invaluable.
How much do they cost?
A decent wearable fitness tracker will likely start at around $50. There are some good, simple tracking bands and pedometers available for as low as $30. For smart watches, expect to pay anywhere from $130 to $400 or more for an Apple Watch.
Many smartphone fitness tracker apps are either free or available at a minimal cost.
What features are important to consider?
You may have specific needs that you’re looking for in a fitness tracker. If you’re a dedicated athlete, you’ll want something that can handle the rigors of your training, as well as being waterproof, unobtrusive and comfortable. Some wearables like smart watches can play music to fuel your workout.
Obviously, people with specific healthcare needs should look for something that suits their individual situation.
Since trackers are tech products, you’ll need a comfort level with using the device and any related syncing and software usage associated with it. An easily readable, bright display is useful to have, along with an uncomplicated interface.
The most important feature of all
Your investment in your home is second only to your investment in your health. And the equity you’ve built over time can come in handy when it comes to planning for a healthy, active retirement.
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