by Jenny Gaal, Fitness Program Director


Want to see your progress?  Ever try a device that will give you data on every step you take, the calories you burn, and your heart rate?  Many athletes find that seeing the numbers can be motivating.

Check out these fitness tools to see if they will help keep your motivation at its peak.

  1. Basic Step Counters (Pedometers)

If you need motivation to get moving, pedometers that count each step can help.  With a step counter, you can set a goal of how many steps to take every day and track your progress. If you’re falling short, you may be motivated to take a walk after dinner instead of watching TV. Step counters are valuable for people who get their exercise by walking or running. It won’t accurately register other exercise, such as bicycling or weightlifting. About 5,000 steps is the minimum you should log in a day, and 10,000 steps are ideal.

  1. GPS-Based Fitness Monitors

GPS signals monitor your exact location, such as the Nike App. GPS-equipped devices can record how far and how fast you walk or run. You can also use them to chart a path when you’re running or walking in an unfamiliar place.  GPS devices are generally more accurate than basic step counters at estimating the distance you’ve walked or run.  Many Apps allow you to create a profile to compete with friends and family- a little competition never hurts.

3. Calorie Counters

Some pedometers and GPS devices use your steps and speed to estimate the number of calories you burned. The most sophisticated of these programs let you enter information about your weight, which improves accuracy.  The more expensive units are typically more accurate.

4. Heart Rate Monitors

Your heart rate is the number of times your heart beats each minute, which goes up when you exercise. So heart rate monitors measure the intensity of your workout. Along with displaying heart rate in real time, many devices let you set a target heart rate and then alert you when you reach your target.  Heart rate monitors can help beginning exercisers tell if their workout is moderate or challenging. High-level athletes can use heart rate monitors to make sure they reach and remain in their target heart rate zone.

5. Computer Links and Social Networking

As mentioned, many fitness devices let you download data to your computer into charts and graphs. You can often share and compare that information.  What a great way to keep you engaged.