Fitness walking tools to help walk your way to better health

Smart home automation platforms are integrating with new apps and devices to provide individuals with unprecedented flexibility and convenience when it comes to designing healthy fitness plans.

Modern fitness technology, such as electronic bracelets, smartphone apps, and clip-on monitoring devices, have revolutionized the way people pursue active lifestyles. Current technology is able to track everything from exercise intensity to calories consumed to hours of sleep each night. However, these fitness devices are more than just data collectors — they also help motivate their owners by taking much of the guesswork out of getting fit, encouraging them to take the stairs or hit the treadmill in order to meet their own personal fitness goals. 

For those who enjoy walking, a number of simple smart phone apps exist which can track the steps you take and the distance you travel. The Moves app for iOS is a long-time favorite, offering a clean, easy-to-understand interface and the ability to track steps taken, distance traveled, and calories burned. Moves also lets you compare your numbers with previous days, giving you a simple but effective way to measure your progress. For Android users, the Accupedo Pedometer app is similarly well-regarded and provides essentially the same functionality as Moves. The app also includes a useful Android widget that lets you pin your data to the home screen for quick and easy access. Other free apps with rave reviews include Pedometer++, Path, and MapMyWalk.

In addition to smartphone apps, there is a wide variety of wearable fitness devices that can monitor and analyze physical activity in real-time, connecting and integrating your fitness data. These devices employ the "Internet of Things," which is the same principle at play with automated ADT Home Security systems or even environmental monitoring platforms.

Wearable fitness technology allows your different apps and devices to connect and interact via cloud computing, giving you an accurate and up-to-date view of your progress from your phone or computer whenever you want it. Many fitness companies are producing wearable devices, such as Nike, Fitbit, Jawbone, Misfit, and Garmin. The Fitbit One — as well as the more basic Fitbit Flex — is a great all-in-one option for walkers and joggers looking for an introduction to wearable devices, offering a wide range of perks at a reasonable price point.

The current push toward a fully integrated tech ecosystem promises a wide range of exciting benefits for anyone who wants to get fit and lead an active lifestyle. The "Internet of Things" allows fitness devices and mobile apps to create greater value and an improved user experience by exchanging data between you, the manufacturer, and your connected devices. Fitness technology increasingly allows the user to go beyond simply tracking exercise data; many devices include apps which let you track water and food consumption, analyze the quality of your sleep, and create comprehensive diet plans to better achieve weight loss goals.

As the technology becomes increasingly more popular and commonplace, users can expect great strides in integration and functionality to follow. Some fitness apps even provide a way to communicate remotely with smart appliances such as your refrigerator, creating an integrated system of connected devices. For those who enjoy walking, this fully connected tech ecosystem offers a unique opportunity to hand craft not only your fitness routines, but also your diet plans and sleep schedules, putting these new technological advancements to use in order to improve your overall fitness experience.

The "Internet of Things" is often discussed in the context of businesses and homes, but the current crop of fitness-related apps and devices are challenging that notion. By allowing users to connect their own bodies to the internet, fitness technology has created an unparalleled opportunity to track exercise data, activity, and information relating to virtually every aspect of health and wellness.

This guest post was written by Beth Kelly. Beth Kelly is a blogger based in Chicago, IL. Happy to live in a city that lets her walk and bike almost anywhere, she's excited to report on the tech side of
foot travel. She graduated from DePaul University with a Communications and Art History degree. You can contact her here: @ bkelly_88

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