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The Lifestyle: Happy & Fit in the ‘Fonte - Mobile Fitness Technology: Turn Your Investment into Results

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Bellefonte, Pennsylvania 16823

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mluksic@ymcaocc.org

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By Matt Luksic, Bellefonte YMCA - Wellness Director

Mobile Fitness Technology: Turn Your Investment into Results

The fitness industry is not immune to the new wave of technology that is taking our world by storm. Mobile apps, social media, smartwatches, and health monitors are now at our fingertips every day. With every new mobile fitness product design comes new, innovative features that promise to return interesting findings about our health and physical activity.

But how do we assure that our mobile fitness tools are equipped with the features that will help yield results?

In order to answer this question, we need to determine why we are even considering using these products in the first place.

-Are you looking to increase daily physical activity?

-Do you want to know how many calories you are, and should be consuming each day?

-Is exercise intensity something that you need to track more precisely?

These are just a few of the important, goal-determining questions that need to be answered before making a purchase. These products can be a huge help when it comes to understanding and tracking our health and fitness, but we need to stay away from “fluff” features, and select a product that will give us the crucial information that we need to be successful. “Fluff” features are what I like to call capabilities that are basically irrelevant to a product’s purpose, but can be used to drive up its price.   

Below is a list of the most crucial, useful features that are offered in products on the market today.

  • Heart Rate

Heart rate is absolutely essential in determining exercise intensity and how many calories you are burning throughout the day. Whether you are walking the dog through downtown Bellefonte, or running through an intense cardio workout at the Y, you are burning calories and deserve credit for each and every one. Simply put, heart rate is an absolute MUST for anyone who works out with a specific goal in mind.

  • Calories Burned

In correlation with 24/7 heart rate tracking, the calories burned feature is a great tool for anyone who could use precision and accuracy to help them determine the end result of the physical activity that they are putting in every day. While tracking calories burned and calories consumed (also on this list) each day, one would be able to get a very accurate reading of whether or not they are burning more calories than they are consuming, or vice versa. The calories burned feature is a MUST for anyone who needs to be conscience of their physical activity level, in relation to their nutritional regimen.       

  • Step Counting

The step counting feature, which is available in the vast majority of wearable fitness products, is important because of its application to our lifestyles. Forget about the gym and your workouts for a minute. It is absolutely crucial that we stay active on all seven days of the week in order to keep our momentum going as we strive to live a healthy and fit lifestyle. Many of the wearable fitness product models are famous for their “10,000 steps a day” benchmark, which can certainly be utilized as a daily motivational tool. I find the majority of importance in this feature in the accountability that it offers on every given day. Therefore, step counting is a MUST for anyone who struggles to stay active on 365 days a year.

  • Calorie Counting

The calorie counting feature is somewhat of a rare feature for wearable fitness devices. However, thanks to mobile apps like My Fitness Pal, it is not essential that it is included with your wearable device. Many of the calorie counting mobile apps are free for those of us who own smartphones. In addition, the My Fitness Pal app can be linked to many of the different wearable devices on the market. By using a reliable calorie counter in correlation with a physical activity tracker (heart rate/step counter), we can precisely track our daily progress down to the calorie. More information means more accountability, making this feature a MUST for precise daily tracking.   

  • Battery Life

Last, but certainly not least is battery life. This feature is the most elementary, yet essential to a quality wearable fitness devices function. We must allow our mobile fitness devices to work for us and not against us. If you are having to pause your day to charge up your fitness device, you are losing time and have probably already lost money on your investment. In order to get the most out of your purchase, I would suggest that you require a battery life of at least five days or more. MUST, MUST, MUST!!!

Now on to the products themselves. Below are my top picks for the best mobile fitness devices on the market based on features, customer reviews, and overall value.  

 

Gold

  1. Fitbit Blaze

Features:

  • 24/7 Heart Rate Tracking
  • Daily Step Counting
  • Calories Burned
  • Sync’s with My Fitness Pal App for Daily Calorie Intake Tracking
  • Battery Life = 5 days 

Price Range: $179.95 - $199.95

 

  1. My Fitness Pal (Mobile App)

Features:

  • Daily Calorie Intake Counter
  • Extensive Food Database (3,800,000 + foods)
  • Goal – Dependent Flexibility
  • Exercise Database (350 + exercises)  
  • Social Community: Connect with Friends for Added Accountability
  • Ad – Free
  • Sync’s with Many Mobile Fitness Devices, Including Fitbits.

Price Range: FREE

 

Silver

  1. Fitbit Surge

Features:

  • 24/7 Heart Rate Tracking
  • Daily Step Counting
  • Calories Burned
  • Calorie Intake Counting
  • Sync’s with My Fitness Pal App for Daily Calorie Intake Tracking
  • Battery Life = 7 days

Price Range: $200 - $250

 

Bronze

  1. Fitbit Charge HR

Features:

  • 24/7 Heart Rate Tracking
  • Daily Step Counting
  • Calories Burned
  • Calorie Intake Counting
  • Sync’s with My Fitness Pal App for Daily Calorie Intake Tracking
  • Battery Life = 5 days 

Price Range: $120 - $150

 

So there you have it. Not only are Fitbit mobile fitness devices the most popular models on the market, but they also offer the most in terms of quality and overall value for your money. These devices certainly will not put in the work for you, but by using them in conjunction with the My Fitness Pal app, or other calorie counting methods, you will have all of the information you need to work specifically towards accomplishing sustainable daily goals, with the promise of achieving long –term results. 

 

Matt Luksic  BS, PES, GFS

Wellness Director

Bellefonte YMCA

mluksic@ymcaocc.org

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