Fitness Tracker Buying Guide

Wearing a fitness tracker is a simple way to monitor your physical activity and key health indicators. This fitness trackers article will get you moving on the path to better fitness.

Fitness Trackers 101

The best way to ensure you and your family are making headway in your workouts is to track your activity. With a fitness tracker, it's easy to monitor morning runs, bag workouts at the gym and even total steps taken during the day. Some fitness trackers also record your heart rate and sleep patterns and calculate calories burned. After your workout, you can transfer the data to your computer to compare sessions and share your progress with your family and online exercise buddies. Fitness trackers are lightweight and simple to strap on to your wrist or clip on to your clothing. With the help of a fitness tracker, you can tailor your regimen for best results and know exactly how you’re doing at the touch of a button or keypad.

Types of


Fitness/Activity Trackers

A fitness tracker can be as simple as a pedometer or heart-rate monitor, or sophisticated enough to connect to online software and a computer dashboard. Most deliver accurate readings on times, distances and calories burned and store them for reference. A sports watch that tracks your pulse while providing time and distance data is a great accessory for runners. Wristband or bracelet fitness trackers count your footsteps all day and monitor your sleep pattern at night. Fitness trackers are small enough to go unnoticed and won’t interfere with your other daily activities.

Connected Fitness

Many fitness trackers have wireless (Bluetooth) capability and come bundled with fitness software for installation on a personal computer, tablet or smartphone. Once you've collected activity data on your tracker, you simply transfer it wirelessly to your device where it can be organized and saved for future reference. The software behaves like a digital personal trainer, analyzing your performance and offering expert feedback. Some fitness trackers have developed online social communities, where members post stats, swap stories and support one another. The ability to review your workout history and share your experiences with others can be a powerful motivator that keeps you focused on achieving your fitness goals.

Heart Rate Monitors

By recording your pulse during and after exercise, your heart rate monitor can give you an excellent snapshot of your general state of fitness. It can also help you understand if your current workout regimen is delivering the cardio benefits you're seeking. This allows you to readily modify and refine your workouts to suit your specific and evolving goals. Many heart rate monitors look and perform like wristwatches, with digital displays and snug-fitting wrist straps. Additional features on some models may include a stopwatch timer, calorie counter and target-zone alert setting. Bracelet-style models are lightweight but may be harder to read while you’re moving.

Pedometers & Accelerometers

A pedometer is a type of fitness tracker that helps you understand how far you travel by foot during a given period. You can monitor yourself during your runs or track your movements all day long. Pedometers work by detecting and counting your steps and multiplying the total by your average stride length. An accelerometer is a more sophisticated device that measures your actual motion and uses this information to calculate your steps with greater accuracy. Pedometers and accelerometers come in various styles, including wristwatch, bracelet, clip-on and strap-on. You’ll be amazed to see how many steps you take in a day, and motivated to beat your personal best. Wireless connectivity is an option on some of the latest models.

Sports Watches

A sports watch can be a stylish casual timepiece or a training partner strapped to your wrist. Advanced versions of these rugged little marvels are equipped with heart rate monitors, lap counters, audible alerts and various programmable aids to keep your training session on time and on track. They’re also water and shock resistant, lightweight and easy to read while you’re in motion. A GPS-equipped watch records and archives time, distance and speed data for a handy, on-board workout log you can check at a glance.

Personal Round Timers

If you interval train or take part in fighting sports such as boxing or MMA (mixed martial arts), you'll benefit from a personal round timer. Simply set the timer, start your workout and stay in sync with the activity and rest periods. Personal round timers are light enough to be worn strapped or clipped on, and can be pre-set for any interval length. The device sounds an alarm when one round is over and the next begins. It’s a great way to add urgency to your workout sessions and learn how to pace yourself like the pros. You can program the device for multiple rounds while you work the heavy bag or shadow box.

Fitness Tracker Buying Tips:

• Shop for the best combination of features and comfort
• Wrist or armband trackers are more sophisticated
• Clip-on trackers offer basic functions and can be carried out of sight
• Look for easy-to-use software with clear language, not jargon
• Bluetooth wireless capability enables easy data transfer
• An easy-to-read display screen can be a real motivator

Fitness Tracker Features

Distance Tracker +

Accurate distance tracking is a minimal and basic requirement of any fitness tracker. If you have ever used a pedometer then you’re going to love the sheer amount of information and precision available from the latest devices. For example, many fitness trackers allow you to create a personal profile that includes your stride length and stride rate. This permits the device to track your distance with greater accuracy. You also get key data about your average speed, top speed and elapsed time. If your workout regimen includes stair-climbing, look for a device with a stair-tracker feature.

Calorie Tracker +

Most fitness trackers include a calorie tracker, which monitors the amount of calories burned during an exercise session. Some models will also track how long it takes you to burn a given amount of calories. Armed with that information, you can make further observations about which activities burn the most calories and what is the most efficient form of exercise to help achieve your weight-loss or other goals.

Meals and Calorie Intake +

Tracking calorie intake is a fundamental part of your plan to get and stay fit. The best way to do it is to keep a digital log of everything you consume. Some fitness trackers provide this functionality, while others may require you to download a calorie app. Either way, you enter your meal information to calculate the total calories consumed, and compare them with your total calories burned to achieve a good balance.

Sleep Tracker +

You know only too well how you feel in the morning after a poor sleep. With a bracelet-type fitness tracker, you can capture data during the night that will help you develop healthier sleep patterns. Once connected to your smartphone or tablet, the tracker generates a visual snapshot of your sleep in the form of a bar graph or flow chart. Armed with this information, you can adjust your sleep habits and start getting the deep, healthy sleep you need.

Wireless Synching +

Once your fitness tracker has collected all the data from your most recent activity, you need to upload it to your phone, tablet or desktop computer. You want to be able to study your results and save them for future reference. The fastest and most convenient transfer method is wireless (most devices support Bluetooth). This makes it simple to synch your tracker with your hardware of choice.

Fitness Apps and Tools +

Most fitness trackers come with a software program or workout apps to not only record your workout log, but also to analyze and store it. This is the online personal trainer that measures your progress, enables you to meet and reset your training goals, and motivates you to stick with your plan. Maybe you already have some preferred exercise apps loaded onto your handheld device or computer. In that case, make sure that you buy a fitness tracker that's compatible with your existing apps and operating system.

Goals and Rewards +

Let’s be clear: a fitness tracker won’t reward you with a bowl of ice cream for meeting your training target. What it will do is provide you with encouragement and validation by confirming that you successfully completed the task at hand, whether it's running, walking, riding or rowing. It will congratulate you for achieving a personal best and help you establish new goals as you surpass each threshold. Achieving your fitness goals takes dedication, persistence and the support of both real and electronic friends to cheer you on.

Challenge Friends +

There’s nothing like a little (or a lot) of friendly competition to keep you excited and motivated about exercising. Some fitness trackers enable social networking, so you can notify your virtual running partners that you were first across the finish line, or just set a personal best time. Members of your fitness circle can revel in your progress and use it to motivate their own efforts. Getting fit can be a lonely activity, so you should seize upon any chance to share your experience with others who share your passion and have similar fitness goals.

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Fitness Tracker Maintenance Tips:

• Take it off before showering or bathing
• Remove your clip-on device from clothes before laundering
• Regularly upload data to your smartphone or computer
• Recharge daily or as often as required
• Make sure clasps and closures are snug and secure
• Follow product instructions for correct placement on body
This article is intended as general information. Always be sure to read and follow the label(s)/instruction(s) that accompany your product(s). Walmart will not be responsible for any injury or damage caused by this activity.



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