Today, many Americans have an increased interest in their health and well-being. As a result, market trends indicate that fitness trackers have grown in popularity over the last few years. In fact, recent statistics show that about one out of every five American adults makes use of these wearable fitness devices to provide them with useful information on their journey toward a more healthy lifestyle. So, what are the basic features offered by these devices? How do you find the right fitness tracker for your needs? Let’s find out below:

Benefits of a Fitness Tracker

Using a fitness tracker designed for your specific goals can provide you with several main benefits, as described below:

Personal Accountability

Most of us live busy lifestyles and can easily lose sight of our wellness goals when we become overwhelmed with other responsibilities. Getting a personal trainer may not be a feasible option for everyone. The next best thing can be a fitness tracker. It can help you remain accountable for the actions that will lead to an increase in health. If you struggle to remain focused on your long-term fitness and health goals, a fitness tracker is something that can provide much-needed motivation and accountability.

Tailored Goals

Fitness trackers allow you to tailor the information you put into them to suit your specific current and future needs. Whether your goal is to get a few extra steps each day or to train for a half-marathon, you can tailor your information and workouts to reflect your current fitness goals.

Friendly Competition

Fitness trackers today also allow you to become friends with others and follow them on their own fitness adventures. If friendly competition makes you perform better and stick to your routine more reliably, the possibility for one-on-one or small group competitions is always there.

Tracking Other Wellness Related Factors

A healthy lifestyle is about so much more than just exercise. Your diet, water intake, and sleep pattern are all very important components to your overall health as well. Fitness trackers allow you to monitor your fluid intake, keep a food log if needed, and ensure that you get an adequate amount of sleep.

Features Offered by Fitness Trackers

While there are various types of fitness trackers, there will obviously be some overlap between the basic features offered by these devices. Some of the most common features found with most fitness trackers are listed below.

Steps Counted

Nearly all fitness trackers, even the most basic, count the number of steps you walk in a given day.

Flights of stairs climbed

Using a slightly different type of technology, many fitness trackers are also capable of tracking the number of flights of stairs you climb in a day.

Distance traveled

While this is not essential to everyone, being able to keep track of the total distance traveled can be useful information in terms of logging workouts and improving on previous performances.

Calories Burned

If weight loss is a major fitness goal you have, being able to monitor calories in and calories out is helpful.

Heart Rate Monitoring

In order to work out safely, it’s important to be sure your heart rate stays in an appropriate range for your age and fitness level.

Accurate GPS Monitoring

Some people find it useful to have access to accurate GPS location monitoring. This may be especially beneficial for outdoor enthusiasts such as runners and cyclists.

How to Choose the Right Fitness Tracker for Your Needs

With all of these various features in mind, how do you choose the best fitness tracker for your specific needs? For starters, take note of your current and future fitness goals and where you see yourself headed in the next few years.

Again, if you are just looking to become a little less sedentary in your everyday life, you would likely be just fine in choosing a basic model without a lot of bells and whistles. Moreover, if you find that a fitness tracker isn’t for you, you can also look at installing fitness apps on your phone, which have become pretty robust in and of themselves.

If you are already an avid athlete and want to improve in your training, you will need some of the more advanced features that some fitness tracking devices offer. If you engage in a lot of water sports as part of your training, you will find a waterproof or water resistance fitness tracker of particular importance. While your goals will constantly be changing as you become more fit, it’s vital to begin with a good overall grasp of your current goals.

Top Contenders for Performance and Functionality

When testing out a variety of popular fitness tracker models, there are several that consistently rank at the top in terms of functionality and performance. Below are three of the leading choices that offer an excellent selection of features you may find useful on your journey toward improved health.

1. Garmin Vivofit 3

The Garmin Vivofit 3 delivers on all the basic essential functions that most users will find themselves in need of. At under $100, the Garmin Vivofit 3 is a good choice for those who have a smaller budget to work with but still want all the essential functions offered by these types of devices.

The Garmin Vivofit 3 features a small display that is built into the unit. During testing, it provided fairly accurate step counting and distance tracking capabilities. This fitness tracker also incorporates directly with popular wellness apps such as My Fitness Pal, making it easy to have all of your health and wellness data right in one central location. It is slim and comfortable to wear, offering a sleek design with functionality that meets the needs of most.

2. Fitbit Charge 2

The Fitbit Charge 2 has a very similar appearance to the Garmin Vivofit 3. It also comes equipped with all the same basic features as the Vivofit, with the addition of a heart rate monitor and calorie tracking functionality that is built into the downloadable Fitbit app. These extra features do bump up the price just a bit, making the Fitbit Charge 2 approximately $50 more than the Garmin Vivofit 3. For those looking to improve their heart health and exercise in a healthy range, these additional features may prove to be worth the difference in price.

3. Garmin Vivosmart HR+

The final model, the Garmin Vivosmart HR+, is ideally suited for endurance athletes. It offers the same basic features of the other two, but it also provides accurate GPS location tracking software built right in. For long distance runners and cyclists, the GPS tracking features can be very useful.

Fitness trackers have become exceedingly popular today, with approximately one out of every five people owning one. However, owning a fitness tracker are only going to prove beneficial for you if you find one that you’re actually excited to make use of. By assessing your specific health related goals, you can find a fitness tracker that corresponds with what you want to achieve from a healthier lifestyle overall. The right fitness tracker can help you remain motivated as you strive to reach all of your health and wellness goals. Please click here to visit Reviews.com’s Fitness Tracker guide to learn more about what current fitness tracker models can contribute towards your wellness journey.