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Arthritis Today

Fitness Gadgets and Trackers

Setting goals is a sure-fire way to improve fitness. Here are some high- and low-tech tools to monitor your workouts.

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Put yourself on the fast track to fitness! Using a gadget or tracker to log your exercise and monitor your progress can help you move more.

In fact, a review of studies published in theJournal of the American Medical Association found that people who wore a pedometer to record their steps increased their count by 27 percent. This put them closer to the 6,000 steps a day shown to reduce the risk of activity limitations in people with knee osteoarthritis.

What’s more, tracking your workouts with an app, journal or even gaming system can serve as exercise motivation. Try any of these tools to boost your odds of fitness success.

Pedometers. Easy to use, inexpensive and available at most sporting goods stores, pedometers record your steps and distance. Some have a function that enables you to convert data from the device into charts and graphs on your personal computer. Others allow you to competer

Heart rate monitor. This device gauges your exercise intensity properly, so you can make sure that you’re exercising in your target zone. The most accurate monitors have two components: a chest strap that contains the sensor and transmitter and a wrist watch-like display.

Fitness journals. Whether high-tech (online journals) or low-tech (a pocket-size spiral notebook), fitness journals allow you to set goals, record successes and monitor your daily progress. Some paper journals worth checking out are BodyMinder Workout and Exercise Journal (MemoryMinder Journals Inc., 2007); The Ultimate Workout Log: An Exercise Diary for Everyone (Mariner Books, 2005). If you prefer an online journal try www.FitDay.com, www.MyFitnessJournal.com and MyFitnessPage.com.

Online Trackers. Try Track + React, the new online interactive tool from Arthritis Today that lets you track fitness as part of arthritis self-management. Also, the Walk With Ease Online Walking Tool allows you to record and key elements of the Walk With Ease program. You’ll also resources to help you get started and stay motivated.

Wearable Trackers. Some GPS devices, like Garmin’s Forerunner wrist models, track and record time, pace, distances, calories burned and route, which can be stored and charted on a PC. Or try the Nike Plus, a device that fits in or attaches to a shoe and measures your workout on an iPod or iPhone. The Fitbit, which is available as a wrist or clip-on device, tracks your steps or sleep.

Apps. Track + React is now also available as an app for iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad and Android devices.

Gaming systems. Games like EA Sports Active and Wii Fit allow you to work toward and track fitness goals right on your home gaming system.

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