Next up in our health related Christmas gift ideas is activity trackers. Any brand of activity tracker is a great way to monitor not only the amount of steps taken per day, but many now have extra features that can also track your heart rate, sleep patterns and overall fitness. They are a great way to make sure your keep moving throughout the day and help to keep you accountable for the amount of exercise/movement you do each day. Here are a few recommendations from our Osteopath Emma.

 

Fitbit Charge 2

The Fitbit Charge 2 is Fitbit's best selling tracker, with many handy new features. This Fitbit not only tracks the number of steps taken per day, but also tracks sleep patterns, exercise patterns, heart rate and even gives call/text notifications from your phone straight to your wrist.

The Fitbit Charge 2 has improved heart rate tracking, and with this can also look at how much time you spend in each stage of sleep- deep, light and REM sleep. It constantly monitors your heart rate throughout the day and calculates your resting heart rate. It can also track multiple types of sports and activities and can connect with your phone to track GPS data when running or cycling outside for accurate tracking.

You can also set up hourly reminders to move; each hour if you have taken less than 250 steps it will remind you to get up before the hour is up. This is a great reminder for everyone but especially for those who spend a lot of time sitting when at work. You can also customise which hours you want to be active, which can be handy for those who work night shifts etc as you can change your active hours from during the day to night time or whatever suits your schedule.

As well as the GPS connection to your phone, you can also set up call, text and calendar alerts so you can see who's calling or texting without picking up your phone! You can also set up silent alarms and the Fitbit will vibrate to wake you up instead of a loud alarm. And for those who are fashionably conscious, you can also interchange different coloured bands, depending on your taste.

Personally I've had one of these since the start of the year and it's a great reminder to keep moving all day. It's also been interesting to track my heart rate, especially when exercising as I can track and compare different types of exercise against each other. 

 

Moov Now.

The Moov now is different to many fitness trackers out there; it acts more as a personal coach rather than a simple activity tracker. Whilst it doesn't have a screen like many others, it does have a very impressive six month battery life! It is a cheap and effective tracker for everyday use, and is also waterproof, so it can also be used to track swimming as well as land based exercise.

As it doesn't have a screen you need to connect and rely on your smart phone to see statistics and tracking for the day. It doesn't track specific steps/floors climbed or heart rate but looks at the number of active minutes per day so if you're after something more specific this mightn't be the best fit for you. 

The app comes with a training coach who can guide you through many different workouts, from beginners to experts, and can also give you tips on how to improve your performance. With the Moov Now connected to your ankle, as you start running the coach will give you real time feedback via your phone and coach you on pace and also tries to correct bad form. This is due to the fact that the motion sensors can track the position of your feet in real time, which is a feature most of the other activity trackers can't offer as they are only made to be worn on the wrist.

It comes in several different colours and unlike many others it is able to be worn on your wrist or ankle, depending on the type of exercise.  It is a good basic activity tracker, especially for those wanting more of a coach than specific activity tracking.

 

Apple Watch.

The Apple Watch is high up on many people's wish lists this Christmas. As well as all the impressive phone and technology features, it is also great to use for sports and activity tracking.

The newest version (Apple Watch Series 3) connects to your phone and allows you to make and receive calls and messages/notifications on your wrist. As it is connected to your phone you are able to work out without your phone on you and yet never miss an important call, text or notification. This also allows you to stream all of your music from your phone to wireless earphones, again without having to lug your phone around with you.

It has a built in GPS, which records distance, speed, altitude and the path of any outdoor workouts. It is not limited to only outdoor workouts, but can also track indoor workouts such as cardio workouts, weights, sports and high intensity interval training. It is also waterproof so can also track water workout such as swimming, surfing or water polo.

It has three rings which track how much time you move, exercise and stand. The rings make it visually is easy to see if you have been active enough each day or on the flipside if you've been sitting too much. It also gives you personalised messages and suggestions on how to reach your activity goals for the day. It even gives you a new challenge every month based on your personal activity and workout history.

It also tracks heart rate and can monitor if there are any irregularities in your heart rate. It tracks resting, walking and recovery heart rates and also detects any spikes in heart rate when it thinks that you aren't working out.

It is more expensive than other activity trackers, so it may not be for those only wanting basic activity tracking but the long list of other features certainly makes it appealing.