Fitness Tracker – Best Gift Ever!

Why a Fitness Tracker Makes a Great Gift

A gift for you!
A gift for you!

A few years ago my sister received a fitness tracker as a gift and I thought ‘what an odd gift to give someone who is inactive’. But I was wrong, it was the perfect gift. Why? Because she became more aware of her activity level. Here it is 2 years later and she is more active, feels better, and is 15 lbs. lighter.

I had a similar experience after joining a challenge that required a fitness tracker earlier this year. I wanted to purchase a tracker anyway so it was a good excuse to buy one. And beside, I really wanted to see what the hype was about. I did some research and felt that the Alta HR was best for me. It is slim and has lots of different band options. And you can change  the band so it looks like a fancy watch. Soon I was taking 10,000 steps a day, which is great for me because I tend to sit at my desk a lot. A LOT. I love the reminders to get up and move. I’ll explain some features of the Fitbit Alta HR below.

So, after some initial ‘learning curve’ setup issues (I would rather play with my new toys then read the instructions), it’s been great. The only thing changed after getting used to it is that I won’t wear it to bed anymore. I don’t really need to see how I sleep anyway and I wonder if it’s good for you to wear it 24×7. But maybe that’s just me…

Another great feature is that Health Insurance Companies are beginning to accept Fitness Tracker information, if you want to share your exercise and activity levels. They may even reduce premiums if you are active, or give you points for that activity. Be sure to check with your Health insurance company for their offers and how to sync your fitness information.

Fitness Trackers – Are They Worth It?

Heart Rate Monitor

The one thing that a fitness monitor does well is measure and record your heart rate. Why should you measure your heart rate you ask? Great question! Did you know that your resting heart rate is a good indicator of heart health?  I found a few great articles about heart rates and suffice it to say, it may be more important than you think. It was an eye opener for me.

3 Great Articles on the Importance of Heart Rate Monitoring:

Exercise: benefits of monitoring your heart rate

When it comes to exercising and your heart rate or exertion, knowing your target heart rate can help you be more conscious of the effort you’re putting in, or the effort you still need to put in. If you track your heart rate during exercise and you know what zone you should be in you can adjust the intensity as necessary and save yourself time and effort while getting the most out of your workout.

∼ by Amy Froneman for health24

3 Things You Can Learn From Your Resting Heart Rate

Resting heart rate is measured by beats per minute or BPM. For the super fit, RHR tends to be lower because a healthy heart is able to pump more blood with each beat with greater efficiency, thus requiring fewer beats per minute to pump blood throughout the body. Conversely, an elevated heart rate can be a sign of health issues.

∼ by Mackenzie Lobby Havey for the Under Armour Blog

Know Your Target Heart Rates for Exercise, Losing Weight and Health

Hit the Target: Find Your Heart Rate

Now that you have a target, you can monitor your heart rate to make sure you’re in the zone. As you exercise, periodically check your heart rate. A wearable activity tracker makes it super easy, but if you don’t use one you can also find it manually:

  • Take your pulse on the inside of your wrist, on the thumb side.
  • Use the tips of your first two fingers (not your thumb) and press lightly over the artery.
  • Count your pulse for 30 seconds and multiply by 2 to find your beats per minute.

Important Note: Some drugs and medications affect heart rate, meaning you may have a lower maximum heart rate and target zone. If you have a heart condition or take medication, ask your healthcare provider what your heart rate should be.

∼ by www.heart.org

In Case You Missed It…

Heart Rate Chart from Heart.org – the article above contains this chart:

Age Target HR Zone 50-85 Average Maximum Heart
Rate, 100%
20 years 100-170 beats per minute (bpm) 200 bpm
30 years 95-162 bpm 190 bpm
35 years 93-157 bpm 185 bpm
40 years 90-153 bpm 180 bpm
45 years 88-149 bpm 175 bpm
50 years 85-145 bpm 170 bpm
55 years 83-140 bpm 165 bpm
60 years 80-136 bpm 160 bpm
65 years 78-132 bpm 155 bpm
70 years 75-128 bpm 150 bpm

Convinced That Fitness Trackers are Great Yet?

See what we mean? Wouldn’t you love to get a Fitness Tracker or Fitbit as a gift? I think it says: “I love you. I care about you. And I want you here with me a long time.” If I didn’t have one already,  I would be over the moon if I received one. And the person wearing the tracker will think of you with every workout!

Fitbit Versa Smart Watch, Peach/Rose Gold Aluminium
Fitbit Versa Smart Watch  Peach/Rose Gold Aluminium, One Size (S & L Bands Included)

Since the Fitbit Alta HR is the one tracker that I can speak to personally, I will show you some features that I love. But, there are lots of fitness trackers to choose from with lots of different features.

Trackers are not a one-size-fits-all product, so do some online shopping to see what you like best. For example, if you like to walk you can buy a pedometer. It may be just the thing to get you or a loved-one up and about. Use the link below to see lots of fitness trackers and options on Amazon. Search Keyword Fitness Tracker on Amazon for more options, reviews and pricing.

Motivating features of the Fitbit Alta HR

Fitbit Alta HR
Fitbit Alta HR... Tap image for more info…

 

Fitbit Zone 1

Once you load the app on your device, tap the icon and you’ll see that the main screen is separated into 2 zones. The top zone changes daily and it’s where you’ll see up to the minute stats (be sure you setup syncing). The blue bands around the stat shows how you are doing vs. the goals you set for steps, miles, calories, and minutes of exercise.

Fitbit Goal Reached Icon Image

 

After you meet your goal for each stat, you are rewarded with a green icon that shows a white star in the middle, with graffiti being thrown from it. Here is my icon for reaching 10,000 step goal for the day.

The Steps, Miles, Calories and Minutes are daily stats and reset at midnight.

 

The bottom zone can be changed to show what Fitbit Zone 2you would like  to track and you can move the icons up, down, or to either side so the most-used icons are convenient.

You can also record how much water you drank for the day and the number of calories you ate/drank as well. Tapping on any of these icons will show you history, so it’s a great way to see your progress. When you slip a bit, it will help you get back on track because it will remind you how great you were doing. While the graffiti only shows briefly, the icon for those goals you met remain green and are very motivational.

 

How to Track Your Exercise Time

Because the Fitbit works on Heart Rate, it is able to track those exercises that raise your heart rate consistently for more than 15 minutes, it will do it automatically. For example, if I am on the Elliptical machine for 30 minutes, it has no problem tracking that. But Stretching or weights cannot be tracked automatically. For some exercise types you can enter your activity manually and it will calculate an approximate number of calories burned. Here’s how:

Step 1:

After you tap the Fitbit Fitbit iPhone iconicon to open the app, tap on the  weekly exercise Fitbit Exercise Icon icon (you should find it Zone 2 that we mentioned above).

Step 2:

This screen will appear and you’ll Fitbit App Exercise Screentap the stopwatch icon in the upper-right corner.

Step 3:

The next screen is where you will set your exercise category. When you tap ‘LOG’ the screen looks like this:

Fitbit App Exercise Log ViewIf you do not see your exercise type listed, type it into the Search area to search for it. Or, better yet, just type the first letter and let the app display the available activities. There are lots of activities (exercise types and sports) to choose from but if you don’t see your exact exercise type, choose an activity that matches the activity level as closely as possible. And don’t forget, some exercises will auto-register for you (such as your elliptical machine workout).

Once you have selected an exercise it will be available on the LOG screen and you can skip the search.

Step 4:

Once you set your activity, you will see this screen. Enter the Start time and Duration. The app will change the calories burned based on the activity you have chosen.

Tap ‘Add’ on the upper-right for the next screen.

Fitbit App Time and Duration Entry

Step 5:

Notice that above I set my start time as 5:05, but here it shows that it’s 5:07 and I haven’t started my stretching yet. The app knows my heart rate and only shows 2 calories burned (I was jogging in place). It also shows that I set my duration at 35 minutes. I scrolled down to show you the rest of the screen on the right.

Fitbit App Saved Exercise 2Fitbit App Saved Exercise 1

Step 6:

Now that my exercise has been set you can see the difference between this screen and the one shown in Step 2 above. This screen shows that I now have a Stretching session planned for the 2nd workout of the week. The first was the Elliptical session on Sunday. My Alta HR automatically set that one for me. All I did was start my workout and 15 minutes later (I think that’s the minimum for activity auto-detection) my app registered my progress.

Fitbit App Exercise Screen Results

And one more feature I think you’ll love…

As we mentioned, the fitbit will give you gentle reminders every hour to get active.  You set the hours that you will be active (I show 8am – 8pm below) and it has a gentle vibration and motivational messages flash on the screen. After you have met your goals, a little red dot will appear in the hour you met the goal (250 steps per hour is my goal and my Alta just notified me that I have 10 minutes to reach my goal for the hour).

The other feature that is great is that you can see your resting heart rate. As we mentioned in the articles above, this is a sign of good health and a happy heart.
Fitbit App Reminders and Tracking

FitBit Alta HR Screen

So, whether you have a FitBit, or receive one as a gift. You’ll want to be sure to have all of your activity registered so be sure you have the software loaded. Here is mine next to a challenge I did this year – Outbreak – it was a blast and I highly recommend it!

So, here’s my iPhone Fitbit icon next to the Outbreak Zombie walking challenge icon:Fitbit iPhone icon

The Bottom-Line

If use properly, this can be a great motivator and increase your activity level by being more aware of you activity – or as in my case, inactivity. Highly recommended, I think you’ll like it for yourself too! Enjoy!

Thank you for spending part of your day with us. We had a lot of fun creating this and hope you find it useful. If you have a tracker you love, let us all know – we’d love to hear from you!

Wishing you the best of health!

Enjoy!


More Info on the FitBit Alta HR

    • Get the power of continuous heart rate in Fitbit’s slimmest design yet-all day, during workouts and beyond
    • With heart rate, you can better measure calorie burn, and use zones (Fat Burn, Cardio, and Peak) to find the right workout intensity for your goals
    • See how working out more can improve your health by comparing your resting heart rate trends to your activity
    • With sleep stages powered by PurePulse heart rate, automatically track your time spent in light, deep and REM sleep and take steps toward a better night’s rest
    • Automatically track your steps, distance, calories burned and active minutes with up to 7 days of battery life (varies with use and other factors)
    • Fitbit does not guarantee the quality or authenticity of products purchased from non-authorized resellers on Amazon, and they are not eligible for warranty/replacement. Authorized Fitbit retailers: Amazon.com, Heart Rate Monitors USA and Clever Training
    • NOTE: Refer to the User Manual before use.

 


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Fitbit Versa Smart Watch

Customer Review: “I can have my music on the Versa which is a big thing when I work out 🏋️‍♀️ There are different apps you can download on to your watch. The battery life is good. Lasts about 4 days! Very happy 😊”

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Author: Joan E Wilder

We provide information and motivation focused on the importance of physical activity to our quality of life. It is our hope to help people invest in themselves by staying active throughout their lives. It's that important.

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