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March 18, 2013

6 wearable devices for tracking your fitness

By Kathryn Hawkins, InsWeb.com

If you want to take control of your health, it can help to keep track of how much you’re exercising and how many calories you’re burning. Measuring these can be difficult on your own, but not if you have a gadget to do it for you automatically.

Today, several wearable devices can help you track every step you take and every calorie you burn, and even how well you’re sleeping. Here are six of the best options for helping you learn about your fitness routine and improve your health.

Fitbit
Fitbit
The Fitbit brand is the maker of three wearable products that can help you track your daily activity. Zip ($59.95), a lightweight device that clips on to your clothing, can monitor your daily steps, distance and calories burned; it then wirelessly sends that information to your computer and smartphone so that you can analyze your daily progress on the Fitbit mobile app. The One ($99.95) offers all of the same functions as Zip, as well as a nighttime sleep tracker to measure your sleep cycles and monitor how often you wake up. The latest product, Flex ($99.95), is a wearable wristband that monitors your activity and sleep cycles, sending your stats to your online account.

Nike+ FuelBand

The Nike+ FuelBand ($149) is an interactive fitness tracker that helps you set and stick to your exercise goals. Each day, you can establish a fitness goal, then wear the wristband to follow your progress and see how many calories you burned. You can sync the device with the Nike+ app, and connect with your friends for friendly competition to see who can gain the most “NikeFuel.”

BodyMedia FIT

The BodyMedia FIT armbands may look familiar: They’re worn by the contestants on NBC’s “The Biggest Loser.” The devices can collect more than 5,000 pieces of information each minute, including tracking calories burned, steps taken, and sleep quality. The armband has four sets of sensors that count how many calories you’re burning.

You can use an online “activity manager” to log your food intake, which is converted into calories to let you know how well you’re meeting your weight loss or fitness goals. The armband is $99 for the basic version or $119 for a version with wireless capabilities; the online activity manager is a $6.95 a month, and can be used as a desktop app or on the iOS, Android, or Panasonic Viera platforms.

Amiigo

This company has raised nearly $500,000 through a crowdfunding campaign on IndieGoGo in support of an innovative fitness-tracking device. The Amiigo consists of a wrist bracelet and shoe clip, which you can attach to your body to track physical activity. Unlike other fitness trackers, the Amiigo device can determine exactly what you’re doing, whether that’s running on a trail or treadmill, swimming or doing bicep curls. While you work out, the gadget monitors your heart rate and tracks your blood oxygen levels to figure out you’re responding to the exercise, and it tracks your fitness over time. The Amiigo will be available in June 2013 at a starting price of $99.

Jawbone UP

Available in eight colors, Jawbone’s UP armband is one of the most attractive fitness tracking devices on the market. The tool can track your physical activity (distance, calories, intensity and so forth) and sleep cycles on a desktop or mobile app, and you can make note of what you’ve eaten to get an automatic calorie count. If you spend too long sitting on the couch, the UP band will give you an “idle alert” to encourage you to get moving. The band sells for $129.99.

Fitbug Orb

This tiny device — available in white, black or hot pink— clips onto a wristband or your clothing for all-day activity monitoring. It also can monitor your sleeping activity. The device wirelessly connects to an app that lets you read the stats on your smartphone. The Orb won’t ship until May or June 2013. The device will be available for $24.99 with a “flexi” plan, charging you $3.99 a month for online access; a version that includes a 12-month online membership costs $49.99.


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