Jan/Feb
2015

Fitness Trackers: Fight sitting disease

Written by Caitlin Summers
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Experts agree that being more active simply means moving more during the day.1 Moving makes us healthier and even more productive.

“After reading a few articles about the health benefits of getting up from desk jobs and moving a little more throughout the day, I chose the Garmin vívofit and have been tracking my steps ever since,” comments Terri Crist. “My husband, parents and sister all have the vívofit and even though we live in different states we’re able to encourage each other to keep walking.”   

Fitbit Motivation

For a long time, the pedometer was the way to track all of the steps required to stay healthy—ten thousand per day to be exact. The problem with old pedometers is that they were inconsistent, fell off of clothing and were easily misplaced. Enter the Fitbit, which comes with catchy names such as Zip, One, Flex, Charge, ChargeHR and Surge. It’s sleek look and ease of use while tracking steps, calories and distance is a major attraction for its users. The Fitbit also has a digital clock, a silent alarm and can tell how many floors you’ve climbed. Some versions can tell when the user is sleeping. 

Fitbits can be wirelessly synced with your smart phone to provide comprehensive feedback on results. They also have the capability to sync with different health and fitness apps, such as MyFitnessPal and MapMyRun. Fitbit has come out with a couple of newer models that have caller ID, text notification and allow music control. 

Rhonda Keith says she uses her Fitbit Flex every day and loves it. “I get bummed when I have to take it off to charge it,” she states. “It helps keep me stay motivated to keep going. I get the flashing lights and vibrations when I reach my goal.”

Fitness Devices Alive

Garmin vívofit shows steps taken, distance traveled, calories burned, time of day and heart rate. With the touch of a button, it wirelessly syncs with Garmin Connect, the free online fitness community. A red move bar appears on the display after one hour of inactivity and builds every 15 minutes. The vívofit stays on all the time and has a long-lasting (more than a year) battery. It has a water rating that allows users to take a shower and swim with it on.

The Jawbone UP and the Polar Loop are other new fitness tracking devices. The Jawbone, like the Fitbit, has its own program that sends comprehensive results to its user. It’s almost comparable in capabilities and price to the Fitbit. The Polar Loop, which tracks only steps and calories, comes with the option for chest strap, making the heart rate monitor more accurate. Although it’s a little more expensive for fewer features, its target user is looking specifically to use the heart rate monitor. 

Fitbits can be found locally at most sporting goods stores and electronics stores. They range in price from $49.99-$249.99. Garmin’s vívofit sells for $139 at Bicycle Sports.

Caitlin Summers is an NSCA-Certified Personal Trainer and nutrition consultant working locally with Personal Training with KT.

*1. Nutrition-wise blog, Do you have ‘sitting disease’?, Jennifer K. Nelson, R.D., L.D. and Katherine Zeratsky, R.D., L.D., July 25, 2012, http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-living/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/expert-blog/sitting-disease/bgp-20056238