Fitness trackers are big business these days. They have been around for a while (think back to those dinky little pedometers you attached to your belt loop) but in the last few years they've really gained momentum. There are several different options from Jawbone, Fitbit, Garmin, Apple Watch and more. But do you really need one?
Before I continue to answer that question, this is part of The Tuesdays on the Run blog link up with My No-Guilt Life, MCM Mama Runs and Run the Great Wide Somewhere. When you're done reading here, be sure to check them out!
When the original Fitbit first came out, I had to get one to see what all the fuss was about. Actually, I think my gadget-loving husband had to get one. Because of my job, I kinda need to be up on fitness-related technology so I didn't balk. This was the version that clipped onto your belt, like an oldschool pedometer. Yeah, not much fanfare there and we got bored. Those original Fitbits ultimately died (actually I think my husband's broke apart somehow...don't ask). We then tried the next generation that was a wrist band. This was a little more sophisticated and I could see how people would like them. You could get fancy wristbands to match your outfit and link up to friends through the Fitbit app. I think the Fitbit is a great, especially for those that are trying to get more active and need the push to get up and out. In fact, having something like a Fitbit can help someone go from sedentary to ultra-walker, just ask David Sedaris (I love him, so I had to include his Fitbit story. It's well worth the read). It's also great for those of us that think we do lots and lots of activity but maybe we're not exactly as active as we think. And it's even great for those of us that like data and seeing our steps add up and more. The social aspect is also very helpful. You can have "friends" in the Fitbit community, create challenges and support one another in your fitness endeavors. The new trackers that actually have your step count and other data points on the wristband, making it easy to see without having to check in with the app, are really helpful. They also connect to other apps that you use to track your health data points such as food intake like My Fitness Pal and Lose it!
For me, the Fitbit just got tedious. I had to wear too many things on my arm at once and it got cumbersome for me. When my Fitbit needed to be charged, I took it off to charge and just never put it back on. I needed something streamlined. Enter the Fenix.
the PCT 50, I needed to update my Garmin. My old Garmin was dying and the anal side of me needed something that would last throughout the race. I had a cutoff to be aware of and I didn't want to rely on others on the trail to gauge my time. So I cashed in my birthday and Christmas money for the next 3 years and sprang for the Garmin Fenix 3. It's expensive and crazy but I really love it. It's big and I'm allergic to it (the back of the watch is nickel, and I'm apparently allergic to nickel. Who knew??) but it's nothing a wrist band underneath the watch can't fix. It tracks my mileage, pace, cadence, ascent, descent, the weather, my steps, my sleep and so much more. I can use it indoors, outdoors, cycling, swimming or kayaking. Ok, I don't kayak, but if I did I could keep track of my progress. You can graph everything, which makes my heart sing. There's the Garmin Connect app for the phone and the watch connects to it through bluetooth. I never have to hook the watch up to the computer to log my runs. I can also have people track me through the app, which is an added safety measure. It tells you to move if you've been sitting for too long. And you can have your text messages and other notifications come to the watch if you'd like. There are a lot of other features but I think you get the idea that it's a great watch. An all-in-one watch.
Bottom line - I don't know that you need to have a fitness tracker, especially if you're certain you will exercise every day or are fairly active to begin with. But with all the capabilities of fitness trackers now, aside from just counting steps, they can be another tool for you to stay on top of your progress and help you to reach your goals. They are affordable and a fun, motivating way to stay on top of your fitness.
Do you use a fitness tracker? If so, which one?