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These Editor-Tested Fitness Trackers Encourage Calculated Gains

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These Editor-Tested Fitness Trackers Encourage Calculated Gains
6 Best Fitness Trackers 2024: Tested by Fitness and Tech Experts

<h2 class=”body-h2″>Should I Buy a Fitness Tracker?</h2><p>An easy way to decide if you should get a fitness tracker is by identifying a few key metrics you’d like to measure. In a <a href=”https://www.menshealth.com/health/a41193182/heres-which-fitness-tracker-data-is-actually-useful/” target=”_blank” data-vars-ga-outbound-link=”https://www.menshealth.com/health/a41193182/heres-which-fitness-tracker-data-is-actually-useful/” data-vars-ga-ux-element=”Hyperlink” data-vars-ga-call-to-action=”recent article”>recent article</a>, we spoke with Michael J. Joyner, M.D., a human-physiology researcher at the Mayo Clinic, to get his opinion on fitness trackers. “If your goal is to finish a 10K, then the distance you can run without stopping is more relevant than something like your respiration rate,” Dr. Joyner told MH. “You have to ask yourself how collecting more-granular data is going to help you achieve your goals.”</p><p>Before purchasing, take a second to write down your specific needs for a fitness tracker and then list some metrics you’d like to measure. Having an idea of what exactly you will be using your fitness tracker for could save you money and help you <a href=”https://www.menshealth.com/health/a41193182/heres-which-fitness-tracker-data-is-actually-useful/” target=”_blank”>get the most out of your fitness tracker</a>. </p><h2 class=”body-h2″>What Is the Best Fitness Tracker Right Now? </h2><p><em></em>Over the past eight years, <em>Men’s Health </em>has tested well over 50 of the latest and greatest fitness tracker releases, spanning from brands like <a href=”https://www.menshealth.com/technology-gear/a34317600/garmin-forerunner-745-review/” target=”_blank” data-vars-ga-outbound-link=”https://www.menshealth.com/technology-gear/a34317600/garmin-forerunner-745-review/” data-vars-ga-ux-element=”Hyperlink” data-vars-ga-call-to-action=”Garmin”>Garmin</a>, <a href=”https://www.menshealth.com/technology-gear/a22746560/suunto-9-gps-watch-review/” target=”_blank” data-vars-ga-outbound-link=”https://www.menshealth.com/technology-gear/a22746560/suunto-9-gps-watch-review/” data-vars-ga-ux-element=”Hyperlink” data-vars-ga-call-to-action=”Suunto”>Suunto</a>, <a href=”https://www.menshealth.com/fitness/a41286799/apple-watch-ultra-review/” target=”_blank” data-vars-ga-outbound-link=”https://www.menshealth.com/fitness/a41286799/apple-watch-ultra-review/” data-vars-ga-ux-element=”Hyperlink” data-vars-ga-call-to-action=”Apple”>Apple</a>, and more. We’ve seen fitness trackers grow through each generation, which gives us an encyclopedia of knowledge in being able to cross-compare older watch models to their new versions to see if an upgrade is actually worth the price. </p><p><strong></strong><strong>Right now in 2024</strong>, we currently list six fitness trackers that are worth your hard-earned cash, but if you want to know our number one pick before we start that would be the <strong><a href=”https://www.amazon.com/Garmin-Forerunner-Smartwatch-Colorful-Training/dp/B0BS1T9J4Y/ref=sr_1_1″ target=”_blank” rel=”nofollow” data-vars-ga-ux-element=”Hyperlink” data-vars-ga-product-id=”9926b20c-05ce-4e82-82c7-8ae55dac3c74″ data-vars-ga-link-treatment=”sale | (not set)” data-href=”https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09WTV6MMY” data-product-url=”https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09WTV6MMY” data-affiliate=”true” data-affiliate-url=”https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09WTV6MMY” data-affiliate-network=”{&quot;id&quot;:&quot;29242643-49d1-404a-983c-85b499f0f894&quot;,&quot;site_id&quot;:&quot;c7b9f75a-2f85-4251-a92e-dbc6c7213473&quot;,&quot;metadata&quot;:{},&quot;network&quot;:{&quot;id&quot;:&quot;469ce69f-4798-416d-9432-eaa9954b4053&quot;,&quot;name&quot;:&quot;Amazon&quot;,&quot;metadata&quot;:{}}}” data-vars-ga-product-brand=”Garmin” data-vars-ga-product-price=”$299.99″ data-vars-ga-product-retailer-id=”5ae2e533-dc2a-45cb-a03f-f1d3fec960a1″ data-vars-ga-product-sem3-brand=”Garmin” data-vars-ga-product-sem3-category=”Smartwatches” data-vars-ga-axid=”78e1ed90-4586-4317-ae2e-22b866fb39d5″ data-amazon-ascsubtag=”[artid|2139.a.19543741[src|[ch|[lt|sale[pid|9926b20c-05ce-4e82-82c7-8ae55dac3c74[axid|78e1ed90-4586-4317-ae2e-22b866fb39d5[ofsxid|subx_vs_jam[ofsvid|subx”>Garmin Forerunner 265</a></strong>. The tracker is versatile and lightweight, has an easy-to-use interface, and packs a ton of fun extra features—all for a respectable mid-tier price.</p><h2 class=”body-h2″>What to Look for When Buying a Fitness Tracker</h2><p>Fitness trackers can get expensive real fast. To help find the right fitness tracker for you, consider these three key factors first and foremost before looking at shiny features.</p><h3 class=”body-h3″>Accuracy<br></h3><p>The accuracy of a fitness tracker begins and ends with how precisely it tracks your heart rate (most other stats, with the exception of new hydration tracking features, are derived from this baseline data). This mark is as much about pure accuracy as it is about consistency of accuracy, which is key in helping you understand your own fitness trends. We rated Wasimo W1 as the most accurate fitness tracker due to our Fitness Director’s findings on the device.</p><h3 class=”body-h3″>Battery Life</h3><p>With the exception of the Apple Watch Ultra and the Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 (two fitness trackers that are equal parts <a href=”https://www.menshealth.com/style/g33482000/best-smart-watches-for-men/” target=”_blank”>smart watch</a>), the fitness trackers we tested are all designed to run for days (even weeks) on a single charge. We love a fitness tracker that needs minimal charge, and we also love a fitness tracker that can run for a long time when running its GPS mode. Two fitness trackers that surprised us when testing battery life include the Suunto Race with GPS turned on (up to 40 hours on a single charge) and the Coros Pace 3 (over two weeks on a single charge when set to its most basic mode). </p><h3 class=”body-h3″>Durability</h3><p>All fitness trackers are made to take a beating, but some are better designed than others. Look at case construction and screen construction. The most advanced fitness trackers are typically made with stainless steel, titanium, or another type of quality metal. For screens, sapphire glass is a premium spec to look for thanks to its high scratch resistance and strength. Sometimes the most durable fitness tracker is unnecessary, though, especially if you are using it for pavement running. In fact, a plastic construction fitness tracker can be a much better choice for cardio-intensive activities like running and biking, since the material is going to be much lighter than stainless steel or titanium. On the flip side, if you are using your fitness tracker for strength training (or hiking or <a href=”https://www.menshealth.com/trail-running/” target=”_blank”>trail running</a>) it would make sense to look for stronger materials. </p><h2 class=”body-h2″>How We Selected</h2><p>For the past eight years, we consulted with <em>Men’s Health</em>’s fitness and gear editors on the top fitness trackers. Experts, including our Fitness Director Ebenezer Samuel, C.S.C.S., our Senior Editor Brett Williams, NASM, and our Senior Gear and Commerce Editor John Thompson, put countless fitness trackers through the gauntlet and evaluated models on accuracy, design, durability, and price. We update our lineup of fitness trackers seasonally, so you can expect up-to-date information that takes into account the latest fitness tracker releases. </p>”/>

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Can stretching replace other types of exercise? Fitness experts explain positives and negatives of the latest trend

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Can stretching replace other types of exercise? Fitness experts explain positives and negatives of the latest trend
Stretching is one part of a healthy approach to fitness, says Maureen Watkins, shown here working with Northeastern student Abigail Honson. Credit: Alyssa Stone/Northeastern University

There is massage. There is yoga. There is physical therapy.

Now, there are stretching sessions.

Stretching isn’t new, of course. But the recent focus on extensive one-on-one sessions with stretching specialists has inspired a new layer of businesses within the fitness industry.

Hundreds of shops dedicated to stretching have opened throughout the U.S.—including the StretchMed franchises started by Northeastern graduate Brian Cook.

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The stretching sessions have been growing for years, fueled in part by TikTok and other social media platforms. Health clubs have created stretching areas as participation in stretching classes almost doubled in 2023.

“Stretching helps to elongate our connective tissue,” says Maureen Watkins, a Northeastern University associate clinical professor of physical therapy, human movement and rehabilitation sciences. “It decreases stiffness in both our muscles and our tendons, which means you’re going to improve your range of motion when you stretch.”

How beneficial is stretching alone?

Is the focus on stretching—and only stretching—enough to help people develop fitness? “Stretching is important,” says David Nolan, an associate clinical professor at Northeastern’s Department of Physical Therapy, Movement and Rehabilitation Sciences and director of the Mass General Hospital/Northeastern University Sports Physical Therapy Residency. “But I don’t necessarily think that it’s the end-all and be-all.”

Stretching is one necessary aspect of a healthy regimen, the Northeastern experts say.

“Typically, more than one intervention or exercise type is needed to be well,” adds Watkins. “Yes, stretching is important for all of us to stay healthy and to maintain our range of motion. But it’s not going to fix all our problems. Just like in life, we need a balance of mobility and stability.”

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Why has stretching become popular?

The focus on stretching has boomed as working hours have become more sedentary. And there’s the unavoidable truth that bodies grow stiffer with age.

“These companies that are focused on stretching have identified a need,” says Nolan, a clinical specialist at Mass General Sports Physical Therapy who oversees physical therapy care operations for the Boston Marathon. “When I talk to athletes and other patients about their typical routine, often I’m hearing them say, ‘I know I should stretch more.’”

For people who haven’t worked out for a while, Nolan says that beginning an exercise regimen with a focus on stretching isn’t necessarily a bad idea.

“If you’re doing nothing, and that’s where you’re starting?” Nolan says of stretching. “Then that’s awesome. As a physical therapist I would celebrate that.”

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But he and Watkins insist that stretching alone won’t get the job done.

Quarterback Tom Brady was able to extend his NFL career to age 45 because of his devotion to muscle and joint “pliability.” But there was so much more to his regimen, says Watkins.

“His focus was to address muscle pliability through stretching, applying pressure through foam rolling and strengthening,” Watkins says. “It’s not just one-stop shopping. Stretching is not going to fix everything.

“Stretching is going to help—along with soft-tissue massage and a combination of other interventions.”

What else is necessary besides stretching?

Strength and cardiovascular training are also necessary, Nolan says.

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For those who are seeking to stretch on their own, Watkins recommends holding a stretch for 20 to 30 seconds. Then perform each stretch two to three times. And aim for three to four sessions per week.

“It does take a while for your muscles to get elongated and gain new motion,” Watkins says. “Many people are tight—and it took a while for them to get tight. So it’s going to take a little while to get more flexible. If motion is limited, the key is consistency and stretching multiple times a week to address those affected muscle groups.”

If you feel pain during a stretch, Watkins says that’s the signal to back off. If you’re suffering from an injury, she recommends seeking a physical therapist to help guide you through recovery.

“And then the trick is to use your body,” Watkins says. “You have this beautiful new range of motion and we want to maintain it. After you stretch make sure that you’re doing some type of active movement and strengthening to maintain that motion.”

Focus on strengthening your muscles

If you’re already limber, adds Watkins, it may be a sign that you should be focused on strengthening your muscles more so than elongating them.

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For most people, stretching should be embraced as a natural instinct.

“If you ever see animals when they first get up in the morning, what do they do? They stretch,” Watkins says. “They instinctively put their bodies through that motion. And so I always try to start my day off with a nice big stretch before I get out of bed. The animals do it without even thinking about it because they know it’s important.”

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These Hudson Valley Pilates Studios Improve Flexibility

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These Hudson Valley Pilates Studios Improve Flexibility

Pilates is sneaky. At first glance, the popular workout seems a whole lot like yoga, thanks to its minute movements and precise poses. Upon closer inspection (or, you know, attending a class), the fitness trend reveals itself as a seriously challenging workout option. According to Pilatesv.com, the exercise “conditions the whole body, even the ankles and feet. No muscle group is over-trained or under trained. Your entire musculature is evenly balanced and conditioned, helping you enjoy daily activities and sports with greater ease, better performance, and less chance of injury.”

Intrigued by the benefits? Swing by a class at one of these Hudson Valley Pilates studios to see if the fitness fad is the one for you.

P.S. Did we miss a spot? Send us a message here so we can add it.

APG Pilates

Newburgh

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Offering a 55-minute mat class for only $20, APG Pilates provides a well-balanced roster of classes. APG’s apparatus classes provide a more specialized experience, with a focus on properly utilizing equipment like the tower, reformer, chair, and spine corrector. Newbies can sign up for the intro special: two private classes for the price of one.

Beacon Pilates

Beacon

In addition to its array of classes, Beacon Pilates also offers a teacher training program, should you decide to pursue a career in the practice. The studio excels in creating a warm, welcoming environment, and new clients can sign up for the intro offer of two private sessions and one small group class for just $185. If you’re closer to the Fishkill area, sign up for a class at Beacon Pilates’ second location, The Pilates Studio All Sport in Fishkill. 

Bird Nest Pilates

Poughkeepsie

Bird Nest offers a calm, welcoming environment and a number of invigorating classes. Moreover, the studio offers a breast cancer rehabilitation program designed to help cancer survivors get back on their feet. The program is six weeks long and focuses on regaining a sense of well-being.

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Body Be Well Pilates

Catskill, Coxsackie, Red Hook

Led by Pilates pro Chelsea Streifeneder, Body Be Well is the place to be for all things Pilates in the Hudson Valley. Hop into one of the group reformer classes (which are only available in Red Hook and Catskill) to stretch and tone or hone in on technique during a private session. No matter which course you attend, you’ll love lengthening and strengthening your muscles with Streifeneder and her fellow instructors.

Core Pilates Barre

Hopewell Junction

In Hopewell Junction, this studio teaches a number of alternative exercise classes, including Pilates, yoga, dance, and barre. Rather than machine movements, the Pilates classes focus on mat stretching, band work, and light weights to strengthen and increase range of motion. What’s more, no matter what you pick, the first class is free!

Millbrook Movement and Wellness

Millbrook

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Millbrook Movement and Wellness offers a variety of Pilates classes, including Gyrotonic and Gyrokinesis exercise courses, which enhance structural fitness, range of motion, and coordination. Additionally, Millbrook Movement and Wellness offers a variety of wellness sessions such as cupping, ear seeds, and gua sha for health benefits such as boosted immunity and vitality, stress reduction, and increased energy.

Pilates Hudson

Hudson

For an exercise environment with an abundance of natural light, Pilates Hudson is the place to practice. The studio was previously a ballroom and features high ceilings and beautiful, large windows to add a warming glow to your class.

Pilates on Hudson 

Peekskill

Since 2003, Pilates on Hudson has been changing the way people think about exercise. The studio hosts both regular Pilates classes and Pilates for rehab to help with everything from back issues to neurological conditions. Sign up for private lessons, partner lessons, or private sessions depending on which environment you prefer.

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PilatesWorks

Carmel

With waterfront views right next to Carmel’s Lake Gleneida, PilatesWorks is a boutique studio with plenty of natural light. At this studio, the focus is always on strengthening and lengthening, with 55-minute classes that are scheduled by appointment.

Rhinebeck Pilates

Rhinebeck

Open for over 20 years, this studio offers a full range of classes, including reformer, mat, and tower options. If you’re an instructor interested in growing your knowledge of Pilates, check out the studio’s Pilates at The Pillow workshops, the next of which is this September in Massachusetts.

River Pilates

Hudson

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This studio guides everyone from beginners to experts through their respective fitness journeys. River Pilates offers classes at beginner, moderate, and fast-paced tiers for participants of varying abilities. Try the precision tower class if you’re new to the practice, or dive into the power tower class for a serious sweat if you’re an experienced practitioner. 

Roc Pilates

Beacon

Led by mentor and teacher Jordana Herman, who has over 15 years of experience, Roc Pilates specializes in reformer and tower lessons. If it’s your first time at the studio, opt for the introductory package for two private lessons on the reformer and one on the tower for $150.

So Young Pilates

Pleasant Valley

Offering reformer-based small group classes, So Young Pilates is a membership studio inspired by the core principles of Pilates and the passion for movement. For newcomers, an intro package includes three classes for $79 so that clients have enough time to get to know the studio and the movements.

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Ulster Pilates

Rosendale

Located in Rosendale, Ulster Pilates offers reformer, mat, and tower classes and also features Gyrotonic equipment. With a focus on introducing beginners to the exercise and helping the advanced to push their practice farther, the beautiful studio hosts a friendly, well-trained staff. Additionally, the Gyrotonic and Gyrokinesis programs use natural spinal movements to decompress and strengthen the spine, as well as emphasize full mobility of the joints.

Waterfield Pilates

New Windsor

This classical Pilates studio offers personalized sessions in New Windsor. Waterfield Pilates uses varied equipment to help clients achieve their physical goals in more ways. The New Windsor studio currently uses the tower, reformer, Wunda chair, baby chair, and ladder barrel, and it intends to keep adding new pieces of equipment over time.

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How to jump rope: Fitness influencer Rachel Jablow spreads love of jumping rope in Chicago, beyond

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How to jump rope: Fitness influencer Rachel Jablow spreads love of jumping rope in Chicago, beyond

CHICAGO — Fitness influencer Rachel Jablow’s following on Instagram has increased by leaps and bounds through the power of jump rope. Her business, Get Roped, is named after an exercise method she created, which incorporates intervals of strength training and jump roping.

“We alternate between cardio and strength, and it’s all set to a really fun, heart-pounding playlist,” Jablow said. “It was something really different that I really had to introduce to people to get them to sort of try something new.”

Jablow, formerly a trader in the finance industry, sprang into the world of jumping rope after a neck injury sidelined her normal running routine. After a friend recommended she take up jump rope, she developed her unique program, and was soon recruited to teach classes while pursuing fitness instruction certifications.

“One day, I woke up, and decided I’m leaving New York. I’m leaving Wall Street, and I’m going to start my own fitness business,” Jablow said. “At any point in life, you can really change, you can create something that you’re passionate about, and make something of it.”

Jablow came to Chicago, and started teaching her method at local gyms. She said part of the fun of jumping rope is the challenge of learning new tricks from seasoned jumpers, and demonstrating them for others on Instagram and in-person.

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“When my client unlocks a new trick, it’s probably more exciting for me than it is for them,” Jablow said. “It just feeds my soul and inspires me in spreading the love of jump rope.”

Jablow describes jumping rope as both a physical and mental workout because it tests the jumper’s coordination, while working out the entire body. She admits that sometimes she gets temporary “battle wounds” from the rope that disappear in hours, but hurt nonetheless.

“When you’re outside in the cold, and you whack yourself with it, it feels like the worst pain ever,” said Jablow, holding a PVC rope. “No pain, no gain.”

On her website getroped.com, students can sign up for pop-up classes and purchase jump ropes. Jablow, once a competitive figure skater, said her love of fitness comes from growing up in a family who valued staying healthy.

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“I’ve sort of been inspired by my family; everyone stays really active, and inspires each other,” Jablow said. “My grandfather, who died when he was 103, always said you can retire from work, but you can never retire from working out.”

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