#Fitness Trackers for the Budget-Minded Consumer

There’s no denying that the fitness and wellness app market is abundantly diverse. A plethora of offerings are readily available to track calories burned, miles traversed, and the quality of sleep achieved. However, many still prefer not to tote their expensive smartphone into the gym and instead rely on wearable technology to ensure that their sweat equity pays off.

Fitbit has long been heralded as the go-to device for tracking fitness goals. With a wide assortment of models available, they've been the 800-pound gorilla of the marketplace for almost a decade, even turning back challenges from the likes of Nike’s now-defunct Fuelband. Apple has been making inroads of their own via their line of smartwatches, of which fitness tracking is one feature offered.

While each of the aforementioned devices have their own unique benefits and features, their higher price tags have often kept them out of the hands of budget-minded consumers. As a result, some manufacturers have answered the call to create a line of wearable tech that is both affordable and effective.

Misfit offers an entire line of devices that fall well below the $100 price point. Their popular Flash device tracks almost all of the same things as the more expensive products, but does it for around $29.99. The Fitbug Orb is a small round device that clips on to your clothes or can be worn around your wrist, and costs $49.95. Fitbug also offers a selection of goal-specific programs that can be purchased separately and integrated with your device.

It’s worth noting that many of the lower-priced alternatives don’t have their own display, so you’ll need to pair them with either your home computer or a smartphone in order to read your results. Also, if you're considering purchasing a cheaper tracker, make certain it offers all of the features that are most important to you, as many are stripped-down versions of the more expensive devices. It’s been shown that those who record and track the results of their workouts are more likely to commit to a regular plan of exercise and reach their fitness goals, and with fitness trackers available for any budget, those last 10 pounds may have finally met their match.

Is Tracking #Heart Rate Important?

With the variety of fitness and wellness trackers available, you wonder if tracking your heart rate is important. Some fitness apps and wearable monitors record steps taken, distances covered and calories burned. Others also add heart rate tracking to the list. To determine whether you need a fitness and wellness monitor that includes heart rate activity ask yourself these questions:

1- Do my fitness goals include weight loss? If you are using the tracking device to assist your weight loss, a heart rate measurement determines if you are exercising at the proper intensity level. If your heart rate is too low, you quickly adjust your workout to burn more calories and aid in your weight loss. If your heart rate is too high, you reduce the workout intensity to enhance your fat-burning benefits.

2- Am I training for an endurance event? The use of a monitor that includes heart rate measurements is a wonderful tool to improve your endurance training. Since intervals are an essential key to increasing endurance, the monitor lets you base the intervals on your heart rate response instead of on time or feelings of perceived exertion. As a result, your workout is personal and effective.

3- Do I need to reduce stress? Monitoring your heart rate response to daily activities such as commuting to work, standing in line and responding to e-mails is a way to determine if these activities are stressful for you. Once you have record of your physical response to stress, you are able to find ways to reduce your anxiety through deep breathing, exercise or massage therapy.

4- Do I have a heart condition? If you are under care of a cardiologist, you may want to monitor your heart rate throughout the day and especially during exercise to determine if your pulse stays within a healthy range.

Selecting your fitness and wellness tracker is a financial investment and an important decision. You want one that is effective and easy to use so it remains a motivator for your physical activity. Monitoring your heart rate is one piece of the fitness puzzle that leads you toward results.