Just ask Nancy Sinatra: she knows that boots are made for walking. As does a recent study that shows that 30 minutes a day of moderate exercise – like a brisk walk – leads to greater weight loss than 60 minutes a day of strenuous exercise. So if you’re starting the new year with a resolution to be more active (and maybe weigh a little less while you’re at it), walking is one of the best ways to start.
Fortunately, there are a lot of great new fitness monitors that will help you track your mileage (and progress) so that you can stay focused. Unfortunately, their names are all similar so you’ll want to do your homework before settling on the one that’s right for you.
Fitbit: These handy little devices come in three different styles, from super-tight clips to wristbands, that make them hard to shake during an active day. Some can also track your sleep patterns and the amount of stairs you climb as well as just your mileage. They beam info right to your phone, if you’ve got an iPhone 4s or later, or to a website where you can check in on several metrics, including steps taken and calories burned, to give a total activity score that you can use to benchmark your progress.
Fitbug: You can carry your Fitbug in your pocket and still get a good measure of the steps you’ve taken throughout the day. This device has an extremely readable display that lets you check your progress at a glance. It also can upload to a mobile app or to a website that can help you track progress and manage your nutrition.
Body Media Fit: If you’re a fan of The Biggest Loser, you’ve seen these devices strapped to a contestant’s arm or leg. They capture a bevy of metrics, including sleep duration, steps, and exercise intensity, to create a potentially more complete calorie burn estimate for each day.
Finally, if you’re just looking to find out your mileage without attaching anything to your body, the MapMyFitness mobile app turns your phone into a fitness monitor – you just need to remember to let it know when you’re out for a walk or jog.
No matter which tool you choose, it’s a huge first step to get started on a new routine. Having something to motivate you along the way, though, can make it easier to stay on track beyond the lifestyle of your January resolutions.