Do you track your fitness around home and barn to see how many steps you’ve taken on a given day?
If so, you’re not alone. Recently a conversation took place in the Facebook group OTTB Connect with equestrians sharing personal stories of fitness tracking. One member said her horse’s canter elevates her (the rider’s) heart rate to the same level as an 11-minute mile! Riding is indeed intense exercise!
If you’re ready to jump on the trend or have already committed to a fitness tracker and wonder about other products with different features, here’s a roundup of five fitness trackers for horseback riding and beyond. Each one has a unique “flavor;” which one is right for you?
1. Fitbit Charge HR ($150) Best Option To Stay Connected in the Saddle
This is a popular fitness tracker and one that I wrote about in more detail in a previous post. Aside from counting steps, calories burned, and heart rate, the FitBit Charge HR possesses some lesser known features which make it special such as:
- A social networking function to see how friends are doing with their fitness goals. It does not show your friend your weight or vice versa (hallelujah!).
- Notifications of an incoming phone call by vibrating your wrist and displaying the caller’s name and number.
- Weekly updates on your fitness stats for the week.
- Badges to commemorate certain milestones (such as one I earned for having walked the entire length of Italy–736 miles!).
- Occasional emails about fitness events near you called Fitbit Local. For example, I was invited to a Beach Body Bootcamp at the original Muscle Beach.
Update February of 2017: I had a few Amazon gift cards to spend and I just ordered this beauty, the Fibit Blaze. Check back for future blog posts about how this Fitbit works from the saddle. 🙂 You can also sign up for my email list (see below) to stay in the loop on future Fibit and other fitness tracker-related blog posts.
2. Spire Mindfulness & Activity Tracker ($150) Best Option To Coach You to Calmness
This is not like a watch, but a clip-on device that logs your breathing patterns to determine your levels of focus and calm. What a great metric to track! Calmness=something every equestrian aspires to. Other features of the Spire tracker:
- When you’re tense, it sends a gentle reminder to breathe!!!
- Can be clipped on belt or bra.
- Charges wirelessly.
- Small–It’s only 1.7 inches tall by 1.2 inches wide
- According to their website, “Spire uses research from Stanford University’s Calming Technology Lab to understand your state of mind.”
3. Garmin Vívosmart HR ($129) Best Option to See Your Stats
In addition to being able to always see your stats, even in bright sun, you can receive text, call, email, calendar and other alerts when you pair it with your phone.
- Always-on display shows your stats, even in sunlight!
- Displays steps, calories, distance, heart rate, floors climbed, intensity minutes and time of day.
- Garmin Connect is the free online community where you can join fitness challenges and save, plan and share your progress with other users.
4. UP3 by Jawbone ($75-99 depending on color) Best Option To Look Glamorous at the Barn (and Around Town)
The vibrant colors and sleek styling make the UP3 look more like a nice bracelet and less like a bulky fitness monitor.
- Finally, a pretty fitness tracker!
- Smart coach which “learns” and logs your work out categories
- Sleep tracker which tracks REM, deep, and light sleep
- Smart Alarm(TM) silently wakes you at the optimal time in your sleep cycle
- Activity tracker
- Food log
- Seven day battery life
5. Lumo Lift Posture Coach and Activity Tracker ($80) Best Option To Sit Up Straight!
(requires the free Lumo Lift iOS/Android* app)
The Lumo Lift is a small magnetic sensor worn like a clasp or lapel pin on your upper body. If you are slouching, it will give a gentle vibration to remind you to sit up straight.
- Small at only 1.8 x 1 x 0.5 inches
- Can be worn on your clothes or for a more discrete option, underneath them.
- “Great posture helps prevent back pain, lowers stress,and help you become more productive.”
- It tracks your posture hours, steps taken, distance travelled and calories burned through the app.
I wore my fitness tracker to the barn during a recent saddle fitting (yes, I broke up with my saddle and am moving on to a new relationship) and was pumped to learn I burned 1,700 calories! Just from trying out about seven different saddles, getting off, changing saddles, riding around, hopping off again, repeat.
It’s nice to prove the horse doesn’t do all the work points out fellow blogger Christy Rettger of Dressage Fundamentals in her recent post about fitness trackers and horseback riding.
If you’re like me and you enjoy pushing yourself to achieve a target whether it’s 10,000 daily steps or 8 hours of sleep a night or a certain number of calories burned or having perfect posture, then I’m sure you’re thrilled too that we live in this golden age of fitness tracking.
Your Turn: Have you been fitness tracking in or out of the saddle? What tracker do you have or want?