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best fitness trackers for seniors

Best Fitness Trackers for Seniors and the Elderly: More Than Just Step Counters!

A few weeks ago, I was discussing my blog with a physical therapist friend of mine. He works with geriatric patients at a rehab facility. Anyway, we got around to talking about how important it is for seniors to stay aware of what's going on with their bodies. If they recognized small changes in their health, some diseases could be caught earlier. At one point, he jokingly mentioned that he wished there was a magic pill. One that once ingested, could monitor the health of the seniors on a 24/7 basis. That got me thinking.  And gave me an idea for research and another article. In my research I learned more about fitness trackers. In some ways, these are the digital equivalent of that magic pill. But the best fitness trackers for seniors and the elderly can not be too complicated. If they are easy to use, they could be ideal for seniors to keep track of their health.

Comparison Chart: Best Fitness Trackers for the  Seniors and Elderly

Photo
Fitbit Charge 2 Heart Rate + Fitness Wristband, Black, Large (US Version)
Fitbit Blaze Smart Fitness Watch, Black, Silver, Large (US Version)
X-CHENG Fitness Tracker- Activity Monitor and Sleeping Management - Heart rate monitor Blood...
Product
Fitbit Charge 2 Heart Rate + Fitness Wristband, Black, Large (US Version)
Fitbit Blaze Smart Fitness Watch, Black, Silver, Large (US Version)
X-CHENG Fitness Tracker- Activity Monitor and Sleeping Management - Heart rate monitor Blood...
Mini-Review
Easy to use fitness tracker with heart rate monitor and sleep tracker that automatically tracks without having to be activated.
Good looking fitness tracker with heart rate monitor and sleep tracker that doubles as a large faced watch.
Simple to use fitness tracker that looks like a watch but monitors several different health functions.
Photo
Fitbit Charge 2 Heart Rate + Fitness Wristband, Black, Large (US Version)
Product
Fitbit Charge 2 Heart Rate + Fitness Wristband, Black, Large (US Version)
Mini-Review
Easy to use fitness tracker with heart rate monitor and sleep tracker that automatically tracks without having to be activated.
Photo
Fitbit Blaze Smart Fitness Watch, Black, Silver, Large (US Version)
Product
Fitbit Blaze Smart Fitness Watch, Black, Silver, Large (US Version)
Mini-Review
Good looking fitness tracker with heart rate monitor and sleep tracker that doubles as a large faced watch.
Photo
X-CHENG Fitness Tracker- Activity Monitor and Sleeping Management - Heart rate monitor Blood...
Product
X-CHENG Fitness Tracker- Activity Monitor and Sleeping Management - Heart rate monitor Blood...
Mini-Review
Simple to use fitness tracker that looks like a watch but monitors several different health functions.

Last update on 2017-10-23 at 15:25 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Fitness Trackers Suitable for the Elderly

As people grow older, there is a need to monitor certain health conditions on a regular basis. Things like blood pressure, cholesterol, heart conditions and sugar levels are the most common. Tracking your own behavior with immediate and constructive feedback helps change their bad habits. Fitness trackers like Fitbits are great tools for this. But, because they are usually marketed for people leading a very active and adventurous lifestyle.  So, we forget that they are really just a way to monitor your health and well-being.

Using a fitness tracker is a very easy way for seniors to maintain their health levels in top condition at all times. In fact, for seniors, using a fitness tracking device helps track their current well-being levels. Maybe more importantly though, they help predict a decline in health caused by aging. By storing previous readings and comparing them to current ones, downward trends are caught early.

senior lady exercising with a fitness tracker

Courtesy Wikicommons, Bill Branson, Photographer

Choosing a Fitness Tracker for Seniors

Of course, not just any fitness tracker will do for monitoring senior health. The senior using it needs to buy in to the process and understand what is going on. There are a few key features to consider:

  • The most important point for a fitness tracker for seniors is ease of use. Let's face it. Some seniors aren't used to technologies like this. If using it becomes a hassle, they won't use it!
  • A big, easy to read display is also a key factor. Seniors with failing eyesight need to read the numbers easily and without strain. 
  • Most fitness bands have a activity tracker. These keep track of the number of calories burned in a day. This is important to see how active the user is during the day.
  • Sleep tracking feature available on many trackers allows users to track how long they sleep. They can also score the quality of their sleep.
  • Water and sweat resistant bands are important. This keeps seniors from having to take them on and off for showers. It also keeps the tracker from getting damaged if they get caught in the rain or have an accidental spill of a drink.
  • Finally, look for an energy efficient fitness tracker with a long-lasting battery. The fewer times the tracker has to come on and off, the better!

My Recommendations for a Fitness Tracker

While doing my research, I found out that there are hundreds of fitness trackers available today. And the price range is crazy - from less than $20 to over a $1,000! It also became quite clear that not all trackers are suitable for seniors. Some have too much technology. Many have too many features. A lot of them have those tiny, little buttons for accessing features. These buttons are usually too small for many seniors to see and press. However, there were a few trackers that did stand out. They offer the right combination of features with ease of use. Their navigation is simple which makes them suitable for the elderly. Here are the ones that made my list.

Fitbit Charge 2 Heart Rate + Fitness Tracker

The successor to the Fitbit Charge HR, Fitbit Charge 2 is ideal for the elderly. It really packs in a lot of features to get seniors motivated to take care of their health. The device has a large, easy to see LED screen, which is a big plus for seniors. It even keeps you connected with your calls, messages and calendar alerts when paired with a cell phone. This keeps your from missing out on any important notifications. It has 24 hours tracking, sleep tracking, and will even send you a reminder if you have been inactive for too long.

What to Like about the Fitbit Charge 2

  • Heart-rate monitor to inform you how fast your heart is beating, or how rigorous your workout has been
  • Smart Track feature to track important activities automatically even if you forget to activate the tracking manually
  • Supervises cardio fitness levels to let you understand what areas you need to improve on
  • Multi-sport tracking to track specific exercises like Yoga, Weight Training, Running, etc.
  • Clear, LED display for clear reading
  • Simple navigation for ease of use and understanding
  • Long battery life for less frequent charging
  • Changeable wrist bands to enhance personal style

Last update on 2017-10-23 at 15:25 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Fitbit Blaze Smart Fitness Watch

The Fitbit Blaze Smart Fitness Watch doubles as both a  wristwatch as well as a fitness tracker. It comes packed with a ton of features to enhance your fitness levels and overall health. The touch screen LCD color display gives step by step workout and fitness instructions right on the screen. It accurately tracks your activity, heart-rate and overall fitness levels. This tracker also saves up to 7 days of motion data and the heart rate at one second intervals. Powered by a Li-Po battery, the watch runs for about 5 days on a single charge. And, charging only takes about 2 hours.

What to Like about the Fitbit Blaze

  • Larger display than most other trackers for easy to see readings and navigation
  • Tracks activity all day long
  • Sleep tracking for more restful sleep
  • Doubles up as a good looking watch to be a little more discreet.
  • Silent alarms for discreet notifications of inactivity
  • Display and menus are activated by simply touching the screen
  • Features on-screen workouts that walk you through each step
  • On-screen call, text and calendar alerts when synced with a cell phone

Last update on 2017-10-23 at 15:25 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

X-CHENG Fitness Tracker

The X-Cheng Fitness Tracker features a lightweight and comfortable fit plus elegant looks. It has a circular, rather chunky looking display but it's easy to see. The band is a rubber strap which can be tightened on a wrist of any size. This wrist watch/tracker combination device features an easy to read screen that displays your steps walked, calories, blood pressure, walking distance and sleep quality. It remains on standby for 7 days with a battery that stays charged for several days.

What to Like about the X-Cheng Fitness Tracker

  • ​Looks like a stylish watch for more discreet use
  • Main screen displays the time, day and date in large easy to see print
  • Movement monitor records steps, distance & calories burned
  • Checks and records blood pressure
  • Waterproof to handle rains and splashes with ease
  • Compatible with iOS as well as Android smartphones for call and text notifications

Last update on 2017-10-24 at 02:31 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Summary and Recommendations

Seniors are turning to exercise for increasing strength, improving their balance, and overall health. Many take walks, ride bicycles, use treadmills and even use exercise bikes. As you can see, fitness trackers help seniors by tracking more than their activity. Some models also monitor heart rate, sleep patterns, and even blood pressure. For elderly who also use a cell phone, these little gizmos even give call and text notifications.

Just make sure that you find one that is easy for seniors to use. They are going to want a simple interface with large display and print. Buttons and menu controls should be easy to understand, activate, and use. Keeping these in mind will make help ensure the senior actually uses the device.

About the Author Scott Grant, ATP, CRTS®

I work daily with seniors and the elderly in my position as a wheelchair specialist at a home medical company. I see the struggle they have maintaining their independence and living their daily lives. Most are completely unaware of the options and products out there that can improve their independence, mobility, and safety in their home. I created this site to help seniors, elders, and their caregivers make smart buying decisions about the many independent living aids on the market.

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