Top 10 wearable devices to help you meet your weight loss goals
It would be nice to have your own 24/7 weight loss coach, but unless you make it onto "The Biggest Loser" or cost is no object, you're on your own most of the time. Thankfully, wearable fitness technology lets you have your own virtual coach for a one-time investment of between $50 and $200, depending on your desired features. Here are the top 10 wearable devices to help you meet your weight loss goals.
The Fitbit Flex is one of a full range of wearable devices from the Fitbit company. It tracks your activity and sleep and wakes you with a silent alarm to get you ready for another active day. It's water resistant, so you can wear it in the shower, and it even prods you when you've been idle too long and need to burn some calories. It runs around $99.
If you like the Fitbit brand but don't want to wear something on your wrist, the Fitbit One ($99) is a neat little clip-on. That makes it easier to loose than its wrist-worn siblings, but the trade-off is unobtrusiveness. You do have to use a wristband when tracking your sleep, but you just clip it on once its silent alarm wakes you up and and you start your daily routine.
The Fitbit Zip is pretty basic, as its $59 price tag attests, but it's perfect if all you want is the basics. It gives you your steps taken, calories burnt, and distance walked and syncs nicely to your devices like its more expensive Fitbit kin. It comes in five colors and clips on easily to act as your handy little walking partner.
The Basis Peak is an entry into the heart rate monitor field. It's bulkier than Fitbit's devices, but its watch-like buckle band is very secure. Indeed, it could easily be mistaken for a smart watch with its large display, but it's also tracking your activity and sleep neatly behind the scenes. It automatically detects a variety of activities, like running and biking, rather than just counting steps like many of its competitors. It also breaks its sleep tracking down into cycles like REM and deep sleep.
If you like your fitness program to have a game component, you'll enjoy the "habits" feature of the Basis Peak. It starts you off with certain challenges, known as "habits," like wearing it for a specified number of hours and walking a certain number of steps during the day. As you achieve them for a number of days, you earn the right to add more "habits" for further inspiration. It runs around $199 and comes in black or white, although other colored bands are available for an additional cost.
Microsoft is part of the wearable fitness frenzy, and the Microsoft Band does all the standard tasks you'd expect, like step counting, sleep tracking, and estimating calories burned, as well as that old-school task of telling the time. However, it really shines in its integration with email and its ability to keep you honest. It uses email alerts and calendar integration to keep you from backsliding. Even though it's a Microsoft device, it plays nicely with your iPhone, as well as Android devices. Expect to pay around $199.
The Garmin Vivosmart offers all the standard tracking you'd expect and excellent water resistance and battery life for long-term wear. It tells you when to get moving and offers robust real world support via the Garmin Connect community. You can rack up personal achievements and share them with family, friends, and other community members. It costs around $169 and is available in several different colors to keep functional from meaning drab.
At $129, the Jawbone Up 24 is a nearly perfect combination of functionality, fashion, and reasonable price. It offers one of the widest color spectrums of all the wrist activity trackers, and it also has one of the best integrations of food and drink logging. For the price, you won't get heart rate monitoring, but you will get a pleasantly pushy little virtual coach that vibrates to "scold" you when you're idle too long.
The Magellan Echo is one of the most watch-like of all the current wearable fitness devices, and its five color choices add to its stylishness. However, its big strength lies in its ability to work directly with popular sports and utilize your phone's GPS for tracking. It lets you control your fitness apps, and even select your music, right from the Echo. At $99, it's also one of the most budgetary options.
The Runtastic Orbit isn't just for runners, despite what the name might imply. It's for anyone who wants to track the typical items, like steps, calories burned, goals accomplished, and sleep quality. It comes in black, white, and blue and can go everywhere that you do, including the swimming pool, since it's completely waterproof. It's only $99, and unlike most wrist devices, it works equally well when worn on a belt or other discreet location. However, if you wear it on your arm, it's a handy way to tell time.
The Misfit Flash brings a dash of cuteness to wearable fitness, with seven different colors and an unobtrusive design that allows you to simply clip it on. Let it track your steps, calories, and sleep with no worries about charging it, as it's powered by a replaceable battery. It's also waterproof, so take it in the pool, and use the app to track your goals and compete against your friends for an extra dash of motivation. That's a lot of fitness assistance for a budget-friendly $40.