Fitness monitors can do a lot of things. They can count your steps, talk to your smartphone or tablet, and may even help save your life. Pretty powerful for a small piece of tech.
What Is a Fitness Monitor?
A fitness monitor is a wrist-worn device that can detect some combination of walking steps, running distance, heart rate, sleep patterns and swimming laps. There are a wide variety of these devices available. Most of them communicate via Bluetooth to a smartphone or tablet device. There are even some that don’t need to be worn on the wrist to gather data. Those devices get clipped somewhere else on the body.
Three Times a Fitness Monitor Saved Someone’s Life
1. Is This a Chronic Problem or Did This Just Start?
A 42-year-old man was taken to Our Lady of Lourdes Medical Center in Camden, New Jersey after having a seizure. The medical team observed that he had an irregular heartbeat. The Fitbit device helped them determine that the patient’s heartbeat was typically normal and the irregular heartbeat was triggered by the seizure. Using that information, they decided to reset his heart using an electric current. If he’d had chronic irregularities, that procedure could cause significant problems, including stroke. Having this data at their fingertips allowed these doctors to make a more informed decision. This case now appears in the Annals of Emergency Medicine.
[Insert Facebook post here: https://www.facebook.com/lourdeshealthsystem/videos/10153927021932247/]
2. Never Thought a Stupid Li’l Wrist Computer Would Save My Life
When 28-year-old Brooklyn, New Yorker James Green noticed his heart rate climbing on his Apple Watch he realized something was wrong and headed for the hospital. It’s a good thing he did. He had a pulmonary embolism that his doctor said could have proved fatal if he hadn’t received medical attention quickly.
He was so relieved he tweeted about how his “stupid lil wrist computer” saved his life.
[insert tweet here: https://twitter.com/_jamestgreen/status/918849102741458944]
3. My Heart Rate Should Not Be That High
Sarah-Jayne McIntosh, 18, from Southport, Merseyside in England got a Fitbit for Christmas and it’s a good thing she did. While studying one afternoon she noticed her heart rate had accelerated to 210 beats per minute. Since her normal standing heart rate was 84 bpm, Sarah immediately called the campus ambulance service and they rushed her to the hospital. The doctors determined she had a heart condition and needed urgent medical care.
[insert Facebook post here: https://www.facebook.com/healthalerts/posts/1952660064958585]
The Best Fitness Monitors on the Market
There are several options when it comes to picking out a fitness monitor. Here are three standouts according to PC Magazine.
The Fitbit Surge is one of the most popular devices on the market.This wearable watch has a monochrome LCD display, continuous heart rate monitor, sleep tracker, and built-in GPS. In addition, it can go for five days between charges, plus, you can access your stats from the web. For Android, iOS, Windows, Mac, web. $169.00 from Amazon.
This top pick is comfortable, water resistant, well priced, and easy to use. Although it doesn’t measure your heart rate, it automatically tracks your sleep and fitness activities. Nor does this device have an LED readout. Instead, the light turns red and the device vibrates when you need to get moving. When you double-tap, the LED’s color tells you how close you are to making your goal. The Misfit Ray connects to your cell phone via Bluetooth, and has a replaceable battery that lasts for four to six months. For Android and iOS. $63.50 from Amazon.
Garmin Forerunner 735XT
This lightweight, waterproof, high-tech marvel of a wristwatch sports a color LCD, GPS, heart rate monitor, and sleep tracker. Although it’s pricey, the Garmin Forerunner gives serious athletes major bang for the buck. The $499 model comes with a chest strap for gathering advanced data while running. The $599 model comes with a chest strap for triathlons and another for swimming that records your heart rate while you’re underwater. The battery lasts for an amazing 11 days without GPS and 14 hours with GPS. For Android, iOS, Windows, Mac. $449 from Amazon.
Which One Is Best for Me?
Determining which fitness monitor is best for you will depend a good deal on your budget, what features you want, and which activities you participate in. But one thing for sure: Whether you’re a beginner on a budget, a serious triathlete with money to burn, or somewhere in the middle, there’s a fitness gadget for you.
Tina Praino is a freelance writer who has worn many different hats on her journey. From people development consultant to freelance poet to amateur musician; she enjoys and supports all forms of personal and artistic expression. She spends a lot of time outdoors and believes an active life supports health and wellness.