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While staying fit and in shape may sound like a young person's game, regular physical activity becomes increasingly important as we age. Active seniors can benefit from lower risk of falling, healthier body mass and lower rates of serious conditions such as stroke, high blood pressure and coronary heart disease, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO). 

However, without a way to track the weekly 150 minutes of physical activity recommended by the WHO, it can be difficult for seniors to stay motivated and on target with their exercise. 

That's why in this month's aged care gadget review, we're looking at the Fitbit range, and how it can help you or someone you love with conquering those fitness goals. 

A fitness tracker can help to keep on top of your exercise goals. A fitness tracker can help to keep on top of your exercise goals.

What is Fitbit?

Fitbit offers a number of fitness trackers that can be either worn like a watch or clipped onto your clothing. Wireless, these small devices are designed to track your physical activity throughout the day using a range of different metrics. This can include:

  • The number of steps you take 
  • Calories burned 
  • Distance covered 
  • Flights of stairs climbed 
  • Heart rate 
  • Sleep patterns 

Fitbits are designed to be used alongside a smartphone or tablet, where the dedicated Fitbit application can show you your progress. The Fitbit app also connects you to other friends and family members who use a Fitbit, allowing them to support your accomplishments and cheer you on.

In addition to tracking activity, certain Fitbits can also help you to stay mobile with activity reminders to ensure that you are taking at least 250 steps an hour. This type of encouragement keeps fitness at the forefront of seniors' minds, even if they don't have someone to remind them in person everyday.

How can the Fitbit benefit seniors? 

When you see your efforts to stay active during the day accounted for, it can really boost your sense of achievement, no matter how old you are. Fitbits allow you to set goals for yourself, from steps taken to minutes active throughout the day – the latter being particularly helpful for seniors in their pursuit to complete 30 minutes of moderate activity at least five days a week. 

In fact, one study by the University of Wisconsin found that older women who wore a Fitbit actually did about an hour of additional exercise each week, compared to a group of women who were using more traditional pedometers.

"The Fitbit provides much more detailed feedback and offers more engagement than a basic step-counting pedometer," said the study's co-author, Dr Lisa Cadmus-Bertram.  

One of the perks of Fitbits are their simple, ergonomic interface, making them easy to use. Rather than needing to perform any complicated set up every time you want to use your Fitbit, you can simply put it on and start moving. The automatic exercise detection function can also detect what type of exercise you are doing – the Flex 2 model can even tell if you're swimming!

Automatic exercise detection is available with the Fitbit Flex 2, Alta, Alta HR, Charge 2, Blaze and Surge.

Which Fitbit is right for me? 

The Fitbit line up of trackers ranges in both features and price bracket. The Fitbit Zip starts at $79.95, and offers a simple interface with a large display that can be clipped onto your clothing.

At $129.95, the Fitbit One offers additional features such as sleep tracking and floors climbed in a discreet, lightweight device you can clip to your pocket or waistband.  

The higher-end options such as the Charge 2 ($299.95) introduce more comprehensive features such as reminders to move, automatic exercise detection and a heart rate monitor. 

However, if you're interested in getting a fitness tracker, it doesn't just have to necessarily be a Fitbit. There are a number of options available, so you should choose the one that best suits your needs. 

Fitness is just one facet of a balanced senior life. If you need a helping hand around the house, then the domestic assistance service from Bannister In Home Care can be just what you need. For more information about this, and our other services, don't hesitate to contact our friendly team today