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Personal Tech for Women: 5 Things You Need To Know About Fitness Trackers

Monday, March 23, 2015

 

Misfit's "Shine" fitness tracking sports necklace.

Once you’ve made the commitment to track your fitness with a gadget, the selection can be overwhelming, as most of these devices monitor the same things – steps, distance, and calories. So here’s a list of 5 types of fitness trackers that will help you pick the right one for your look and your goals. 

Clip-Ons

A smart point to consider when choosing a wearable fitness tracker is you don’t want it to get in the way. Clip-on devices are compact and versatile, and can be clipped most places. The Fitbit One is stylish and highly functionally. For under $100, it logs everything from steps to stairs and distance. It has a long-lasting battery and uses Bluetooth to synch with iPhones. The Fitbit is also recommended as one of the best fitness trackers for beginners who don’t deem themselves athletes. Fitbit also offers the Zip, a teardrop-shaped gadget that performs similarly to the Fitbit One. But for $60, it’s even smaller and can be clipped to a pocket or a sports bra. Just don’t forget about it before you throw your workout clothes in the wash. 

Sleeptracker 

Wearables company Jawbone offers the UP24 band in six color choices. It looks like a cross between those rubber wristbands worn to raise awareness and a stylish clasp, but this bracelet not only monitors your activity, it also tracks the hours you slept and the quality of your sleep. The UP24 comes with a Smart Coach, which picks up on your patterns and gets you to bed on time, along with a Smart Alarm that “silently” wakes you up at the optimal moment in your sleep cycle. And during the day, the Idle Alert will “nudge” you through a subtle vibration that gets you up and moving again. For an advanced option, the UP3 functions similarly to the UP24, but gives you the bigger picture of your health with a focus on the heart, including your resting heart rate – an important gauge of your overall fitness level. 

Sport Necklace

For the fitness fashionistas, Misfit offers an activity-tracking pendant that looks more like an elegant ornament than a fitness gadget. Called Shine, the tracker is a solid metal, circular piece – about the size of a quarter – that can be snapped into a metal hoop attached to a sleek necklace, or into a floral-inspired stainless steel locket and worn on a silver chain. Both are versatile and match any outfit, whether it’s casual wear or a party dress. No one will ever know you’re tracking your fitness. To synchronize to the app, the tracker can be placed directly onto the screen of your smartphone, no cables necessary. And if you want to switch things up, the tracker easily pops out of the necklace and into a bracelet.  

Smart Socks 

First impressions aside, the Sensoria smart socks by Heapsylon are in fact made out of a washable fabric and do not resemble space boots. Here’s the rub – the socks themselves don’t track fitness, but the anklets that magnetically snap over the cuffs do. It’s a little dorky, but it is discreet. If you roll your socks down over the trackers, they’re barely noticeable. The smart socks monitor physical activity and how well you’re performing, like most fitness trackers, but they also take into account the impact of terrain, foot striking, posture and cadence. These were definitely designed for serious runners. And according to Sensoria, the accelerometer technology together with their textile sensors provides “the most accurate step, altitude and calorie counter ever developed.” 

Heart Rate Monitoring Clothing

NuMetrex’s heart rate monitoring apparel offers a couple options. The Adidas miCoach Seamless Sports Bra provides comfort and stability, and is all about the heart. With its second-skin fit that minimizes movement, the sports bra allows for a small transmitter to be snapped into the front, inner pocket of the bra. The transmitter then synchs with a smart device or cardio equipment. But the bra itself is also heart rate sensing, with sensor fibers knit into the fabric. There’s also the Heart Rate Monitoring Racer Tank, a form-fitting garment with the same sensing technology woven into the material, plus room in the shelf bra for a tracking transmitter. 

 

Melanie Sevcenko is a journalist for radio, print and online. She reports internationally for BBC World Service and Monocle Radio (M24) in the UK, and for Deutsche Welle in Germany. Melanie also reports for the online news source GoLocalPDX, in Portland, Oregon. Her work has been broadcast by CBC in Canada and the Northwest News Network, and published by Al Jazeera English, Global Post, Pacific Standard, the Toronto Star and USA Today, amongst others.

 

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