What is an Activity Tracker?
An activity tracker, also known as a fitness tracker, is exactly what it sounds like: it’s a device that helps you track important metrics and data points related to your activity and general fitness, such as your heart rate, distance walked, and calories burned.
Activity trackers are typically wearable devices but they are fundamentally different from smartwatches, with the latter having additional uses and consequently being less focused on health and fitness.
How Can They Help You Get Fit?
Utilizing an activity tracker can help you work towards all sorts of health and fitness goals. For example, they can help you build muscle, improve your endurance, lose weight, or simply help you eat a better diet and monitor how much exercise you’re doing each week.
They achieve this by allowing you to stay on top of your diet and exercise by allowing you to track your eating habits and performance.
For instance, most fitness trackers can allow you to monitor how many calories you’re consuming per day. This, in turn, makes it easier for you to determine what else you can eat on any given day to meet your weight loss goals.
As for exercise, by allowing you to closely monitor things like your heart rate and calories burned, activity trackers can help you optimize your workouts and figure out what works best for you and your individual health and fitness goals.
Why They’re Great For Over 50s
Fitness trackers are great for anyone who wants to get fitter, whether they have specific fitness goals or simply want to improve their general health and wellbeing.
And, as it becomes more important than ever to remain fit as you age, they can be an especially great tool for over 50s.
The main reason you should pay more and more attention to your fitness as you age is that our health typically deteriorates as we grow older, but working out and getting the right balance of nutrients can help you stay fitter for longer, increase your life expectancy and reduce the risk of you developing an array of unpleasant and potentially deadly diseases.
Furthermore, taking your fitness seriously can be a great way for you to meet new people, learn more about health and fitness, and even pass on useful knowledge and tips to other members of your family.
All things considered, trying to get fitter is a no-brainer and it’s well worth the effort.
How Much Do Activity Trackers Cost?
Prices vary massively depending on the brand and what features you’re after but broadly speaking, you can expect to pay anywhere from $40 to $300.
Keep in mind that the cheapest options usually have very limited functionality and need to be paired with a smartphone to work properly, plus they’re typical of much lower quality so they are prone to getting damaged and experiencing technical glitches.
You can think about setting a budget to stay within once you learn about the different features that activity trackers can have (as we discuss in the next section) and browse the market to get an idea of how much you’ll really need to pay.
There are many different features which activity trackers may have, including:
Many fitness trackers can monitor both how many calories you’ve burned and how many you’ve consumed in a given day. This is a very useful feature if you’re actively trying to lose, gain or maintain weight.
Another very common and less advanced feature is trackers being able to calculate the distance you’ve traveled, which can then allow you to calculate how many calories you’ve burned.
Some activity trackers can also determine the terrain you’ve been traveling on and according calculate the number of calories you’ve burned more accurately.
Some fitness trackers have built-in GPS which allows it to pinpoint your location and know where you are with a high degree of accuracy. Devices that don’t have GPS may need to be connected to a compatible smartphone to unlock and properly utilize some of its features.
This feature isn’t particularly advanced, but many users find it very useful. It simply notifies you when you’ve been sitting down for a long period of time (which you can set) via a vibration or chime.
There are many drawbacks of sitting still for too long, and even just getting up and moving around for 30 seconds can help improve blood flow, which is especially important for older people.
Heart Rate Monitoring
Many trackers can monitor your heart rate during workouts and rest. This can help you optimize your workouts and spot any irregularities.
Some waterproof fitness trackers provide swimming support and can monitor how many laps you’ve completed, what distance you’ve swam and use this to calculate how many calories you’ve burned. This is particularly useful if you like to swim and are looking to lose weight.
Finding the Perfect Activity Tracker For You
If you’ve decided that buying an activity tracker would be a good investment but are unsure how to find the best one for you, we have you covered…
1) Decide Your Must-Have Features
Firstly, you should decide what features you want your device to have. Think about which features are likely to actually be of use to you and how they tie into your fitness and health goals instead of simply going for the most popular ones.
Once you’ve decided which features you’d benefit most from, you should group them into must-haves and additional features that would be good (but not absolutely necessary) to have.
2) Browse the Market
You can then start browsing activity trackers to get an indication of how much you’ll realistically need to pay to get all the features you’re after. At this point, you should also consider if there are any additional features you might want to add to your list.
3) Set a Budget
Next, you should set a semi-flexible budget to work with. Try to give yourself enough leeway to get all the features you want but be sure not to buy something that you can’t afford.
Financing is an option, but, if you go down this avenue, make sure you fully understand the repayment terms and are confident that you won’t fall behind on your repayments.
4) Shop Around & Make a Shortlist
Finally, you can continue to shop around and make a shortlist of a few fitness trackers which meet your requirements and are within your budget.
You can then gradually narrow down your options by the process of elimination until you end up with a winner. When trying to pick a winner, be sure to consider which one represents the best value for money and has any potentially useful additional features.
If you’re struggling to decide between two very evenly matched models, you should also consider things like their respective warranty periods, customer support and refund policies.
Staying in good shape as we age is very important to our health and longevity, and while getting fitter is undoubtedly a difficult task, it is unquestionably worth the effort.
Most over 50s will benefit from using an activity tracker to manage and improve their workouts and diet. It’s well worth taking the time to have a good think about what features you want and to shop around to find a good deal.
A Quick Summary
- Activity trackers can help you become fitter by optimizing your workouts and better managing your diet.
- They can help you achieve all sorts of fitness goals, from weight loss to muscle building.
- Fitness trackers do this by allowing you to stay on top of your exercise regimen and diet by providing you with relevant data, such as how many calories you’ve consumed and burned, your heart rate, and many other things.
- Over 50s, in particular, should pay special attention to their fitness, as getting healthier can fight off disease and significantly increase your life expectancy.
- They typically cost anywhere from $40 to a few hundred dollars, with the more expensive models being considerably more advanced.
- When deciding which activity tracker to buy, think about your individual fitness goals and how its features will help you achieve them.
- It’s always a good idea to shop around and compare different models before making a purchase.
While you should set a budget, it’s important to try to be a bit flexible and be willing to increase it if you’re unable to find something