By Vanessa Voltolina for Discover and Play
Getting out and moving your body during the warmer months is seriously beneficial. In addition to clearing your head, relieving stress and enjoying the beautiful weather, physical activity is associated with weight loss and disease prevention, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). But when you pound the pavement or do laps at the local pool, how do you know exactly how much energy you’re exerting? Whether it’s to track calories burned, to train for an event, or just for the heck of it, there are many fitness trackers out there that are tailored to your specific sport.
We’ve rounded up a few of the best fitness trackers for all types of fun summer activities, including swimming (yes, really), running and more.
There are hundreds of relatively accurate ways to measure your stride. Whether it’s a device such as Jawbone or Fitbit ($100 and $150, respectively), or a free mobile app like Argus, either will give you a sense of how many steps you’re taking per day by calculating your distance in relation to your stride length and other factors. Another idea? There’s a new device by Misfit — the makers of Shine activity and sleep tracker — called the Bloom necklace (which will run you about $80 — $100 Shine not included). It tracks activity, as well as other things, and all you have to do is wear a pretty stainless steel pendant!
Pool-goers, rejoice! You no longer need to clutter your mind-space with keeping track of your laps. Instead, pick up a nifty fitness gadget to do it for you. The Speedo Aquacoach watch uses technology developed by UK-based Swimovate to automatically detect the stroke and — along with counting laps — calculate distance, speed, number of individual strokes and calories burned. It’s water-resistant up to 100 meters and can remember up to 50 swim sessions, allowing you to try to beat your previous performance and measure progress. It can be yours for around $125.
Sure, you can use a walking tracker for running, but with all of the options out there, it’s easy to find one that will better track your pace. MapMyRun is a free web and app-based option. There are also premium devices like the New Balance GPS Runner and the Garmin Forerunner 620. They both come at a price ($100 and $400, respectively), but are perfect if you’re a runner who wants to track your laps, intervals, calories burned, distance, pace and speed. The Garmin has these same bells and whistles, but additionally measures heart rate and VO2 max (maximum oxygen consumption), calculates your recovery time between workouts, and offers tips about your running form after analysis.
Whether you’re at the driving range, playing a competitive game of mini golf, or doing a full 18-hole round, keep score of how many strokes you take. Instead of counting in your head, try a dedicated stroke counter. They’re generally no bigger than a quarter, no more than $20 and attach easily to your glove.
Vanessa Voltolina is a former online editor for NBCUniversal. Her work has appeared in several national publications, including Weight Watchers and SHAPE.