How to Buy An Activity Monitor for Weight Loss

buy an activity monitor
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Are you thinking about buying an activity to help you lose weight? The trendy gadgets can be a great investment. Activity monitors provide plenty of helpful information that can make the weight loss journey easier.  But not every monitor is optimized for weight loss. Different activity trackers collect different types of information. These are the key features to look for when you're buying an activity monitor for weight loss.

9 Essential Activity Monitor Features for Weight Loss

  • Calorie counting. Many activity monitors track movement, not food intake. That's fine if you're already at your goal weight. But if you need to slim down, you need to track your daily calorie burn  and your daily food intake to create the right deficit for weight loss. It's best if both of those numbers are available on the same app through the same device. Some monitors like Fitbit and BodyMedia provide that feature, while others do not.
  • Energy deficit calculation. Once your calories are counted, some monitors go the extra mile and do your energy deficit calculation for you. This is especially handy if the number is displayed in an app that is easy to glance at when you're making food or activity decisions. When you know how many calories you have left to eat in the day, it's easier to make good choices.
  • Waterproof. If you wear your activity monitor during all of your routine activities you'll get more accurate feedback. That means you should wear it when you shower and when you do chores that may get the monitor wet.  Many monitors are waterproof so that you can wear them more often, but not all of them are. Be sure to check before you buy.
  • Budget-friendly.  It is not necessary to break the bank when you buy a monitor. There are low cost models  that have many of the features of the high priced versions without the hefty price tag. The Pivotal Living Tracker, for example, is free with a one-year membership to Pivotal Living. Memberships are $12 or $15 depending on the band you choose.
  • Easy to wear. Many activity monitors have a sporty cool appearance. But then the devices are harder to wear when you are dressed up in elegant attire.  Evaluate your wardrobe and consider buying a more versatile band if necessary. You'll pay more for a tracker that comes with jewelry options, but if you wear the device more often, you'll gather more complete information and then the investment is worth it. An activity monitor that sits in a drawer can't possibly help you lose weight.
  • User-friendly dashboard. Evaluate the dashboard of the activity monitor you plan to buy before you invest any money.  See how it looks on both your smartphone and your computer if you plan to evaluate data in both places. Some dashboards provide a lot of information so that you can evaluate long-term trends to make lifestyle changes. But that's too much information for some people.  So others just show a snapshot of essential data.  One format isn't necessarily better than another, but it needs to be easy for you to use.  Decide how much information you can handle and get a dashboard that fits your needs.
  • Physical activity intensity.  What's the difference between a one hour workout that burns 200 calories and one that burns 600 calories? Intensity. The best activity monitors for weight loss will not only track your daily non-exercise movement with (some degree of) accuracy, but will also measure your exercise intensity to provide the best calorie burn estimates. The Polar M400 Sports Watch with GPS is both a heart rate monitor and an activity monitor. Wear it with the strap to get an accurate workout intensity reading, then remove the strap and wear the watch to gather daily movement feedback.
  • Wireless connection. Make sure that the activity monitor that you buy syncs with your smartphone. Better yet, find one that syncs wirelessly with your computer and your smartphone.  Many brands sync with both your phone and your laptop or desktop computer over bluetooth or wifi networks.  When the synced data is available on all of your devices, you're more likely to look at it more often and use more effectively it to lose weight.
  • Personal notes: Some activity monitor dashboards allow you to input personal notes to evaluate how you feel on a given day. The Polar M400 smartphone app, for example, asks you to identify an emoticon that reflects how you feel. This is helpful for dieters who make emotional decisions about food or workouts. If your diet isn't working, it's helpful to go back and look at patterns between your emotions and your food intake.  Some dieters may find that addressing emotional ups and downs can help them lose more weight.

Remember, no activity or gadget can make weight loss happen. Ultimately, it's up to you to make the necessary changes in order to slim down. But if you choose the right activity monitor for weight loss, the process can be a little easier.

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