Fitness bands are changing the way we exercise in the modern era. These tiny pieces of wearable technology track our health using concrete measures, such as daily steps taken, heart rate, calorie exchange and sleep quality. All of these measures are pivotal in improving health for people of all walks of life.
The fitness band industry has exploded in the past two years. The fitness band is a powerful tool in the quest to get in shape by quantifying our daily fitness routines, which gives us the ability to eliminate negative habits and improve the positive ones.
Whether you’re a runner preparing for your next race, or a retiree just looking to improve your overall health, a fitness tracker is a useful piece of technology that can help people of any age become a better, healthier person.
What to Look for in a Fitness Band
With over 30 different models on the market now, searching for the right tracker for you can be overwhelming. Here are a couple of things that will help you decide which tracker is right for you.
Look and Feel of Fitness Bands
Is the device aesthetically pleasing? Do you enjoy having it on your wrist? These are the first questions to ask, as you’ll wearing the fitness band around at all times. Find a band that you enjoy not only looking at, but also one that is comfortable on your wrist.
If the idea of having a band on your wrist is unappealing, a growing number of fitness trackers are coming in the form of clip-ons that attach to your clothes. These are gaining popularity, but the fact that you have to fix it to your shirt or pants can become a hassle.
Most fitness bands track the same things, but some offer more advanced features than other. For example, every band can track your daily steps with a built-in accelerometer, but not all of them have a heart rate monitor. As you would expect, those with more features cost more.
The question of what features are best comes down to you. Many won’t need a sleep tracker, but those with sleeping problems might deem it necessary. Consider what your needs are when selecting a fitness band, and select the one that fits your requirements.
Here are some features to look out for in a fitness band:
Display: Some bands have displays for easy readouts. Others lack this, requiring you to sync your band with your phone or computer to check your statistics.
If you’re interested in information about your workout while taking a lap around the block, this might be the way to go. Others might be satisfied with checking out all of their information later in the day.
Sleep Monitor: A sleep monitor follows your movements using an accelerometer to determine your sleep cycles. After measuring your sleep, the fitness band provides you with statistics about your sleep cycles so you can adjust your sleep schedule accordingly.
Some models even have a vibration feature that gently awakens you in the morning during your lightest sleep. The downside is that you have to wear your tracker at night.
Heart Rate Monitor: An increasing number of models have included a heart rate monitor on their bands, allowing you to track your heart rate at all times.
This is good for people with heart problems or for determining which exercises are increasing your heart rate the most. This feature can be very useful, especially for those with heart concerns, but it is offset by a higher cost.
Connectivity: Connecting to your computer, tablet or smartphone is an important thing to consider when selecting a fitness band. Some require that you connect it to your computer using wires, while others are wireless.
Consider your daily habits and decide whether you need a wireless connection or whether a daily sync with your computer is a part of your day.
Cost: Always important in any purchase decision, the cost of the fitness band is important in picking the right product. This factor will always include giving up features in the interest of saving money. Consider what you can do without and what is necessary for you, and pick the one that works from a cost perspective.
Choosing Your Band
Ultimately, choosing the proper fitness band for you comes down to your needs. Are you just getting into fitness, and need an idea of what exercises work for you? Are you having a hard time renewing your routine and need an extra dose of motivation? Or are you an experienced exercise guru just looking for a more quantified view of your fitness?
Whatever your age, gender or lifestyle is, fitness bands can be incredibly useful in improving your health.
There’s a massive market of fitness bands out there. To make things easier, we came up with the three best fitness bands across three different price ranges.
1. High-End – Basis B1 – $199.99
The Basis B1 is by far the most comprehensive fitness band that we examined. With a wealth of measurements, a full display and a wireless connection, the B1 has everything that you could desire from a fitness band.
It has a fully functional display, which allows you to cycle through all of your statistics on the fly. This gives you an effective way to access your fitness statistics at any time and make alterations to your regimen.
It has four different monitors that observe sweat, skin temperature, heart rate and sleep. This gives you the ultimate view into your health and fitness regimen, thereby allowing you to see which exercises are effective and which ones are not.
Perhaps the best feature for the B1 is the way it handles your data. Unlike other fitness bands, the B1 requires you to sign up for an online account. Through this account, you can set goals for yourself, change your regimens and review your progress.
Other bands only deliver you raw data and require you to make sense of it.The Basis B1 does a great job of simplifying your information, which allows you to more effectively manage your exercise program.
The biggest downside to the B1 is the price. At $200, it is easily one of the most expensive bands on the market. The band itself is a bit bulky as well.
2. Mid-Range – Fitbit Flex – $99.99
If you’re looking for an all-around pick that offers many features at a decent price, the Fitbit Flex is that band. With a small display, wireless connectivity and a slew of features, it’s a great band for a great price.
It has a sleek design, with a simple, flexible band that sits comfortably on your wrist. It has a nice combination of features that track your movement, your caloric input and output, and your sleep cycles, giving you the necessary tools to achieve your goals.
It also offers a minimal display, which measures specific goals you select, and alerts you when you reach those goals. The display is an effective reminder of your fitness regimen – something that is often forgotten in day-to-day life.
The sleep features are probably the best benefits of the Flex. When wearing the Flex at night, it analyzes your sleep patterns according to your movement, which it neatly arranges for you in easy-to-read charts. This can help you improve your sleep, whether that be eliminating a late night snack or including a nap in the afternoon.
Most beneficially, it has an incredibly handy alarm clock feature. You set the time you want to wake up, and the Flex will awake you with a gentle vibration when you are in your lightest sleep. This will leave you feeling more refreshed than your typical alarm clock that can wake you up from a deep slumber.
On the downside, the display is fairly useless, only offering five lights that signify how close you are to your goal. It also lacks the heart rate capability of some of the higher-end products.
3. Budget – Fitbit Zip – $49.99
For those looking for a budget option, there’s the Fitbit Zip. The Fitbit Zip is a smaller, cheaper option for those looking for a solid fitness tracker without all of the unnecessary bells and whistles.
The Zip covers all of the standard fitness tracker measures, such as calories and distances covered. However, it does not offer the sleep tracking and heart rate monitoring features of some of the pricier models.
The Zip is extremely portable. Unlike the B1 and the Flex, the Zip is a clip-on, meaning you can put it anywhere on your body that the clip will stay. This is good for those who don’t enjoy wearing bracelets.
It has a nice display that allows you to switch through all of your statistics on the go. This gives you a picture of how you are doing with your fitness goals for the day, so you can stay on top of your progress.
On the negative side, it lacks the sleep feature and the heart rate monitor that some of the higher cost bands include, and while some may like the strapless style, some will prefer the wristband form of other trackers.
Keep in mind that these are only three options for a fitness band. There are over 30 different options out there. Do some research. Read reviews. Most of all, remember to consider your needs first before you decide to buy a tracker.
There’s a fitness band for every person out there for every age group and every level of fitness. Regardless of who you are, the use of a fitness band can improve your life in many ways. Whether it’s a walk around the block or a five-mile run, a fitness band is a great first step toward a better you.