9/6/2013 | By Seniors Guide Staff

More Americans are taking a proactive approach to their health and fitness – and it’s adding years to their life and independent living.  By counting calories and steps taken each day, along with monitoring heart rate and other dietary intakes, technology is helping us stay healthy.

Companies like FitBit, Samsung, and soon Apple, Sony and Qualcomm are merging simple technology and fashion with diet and health.

Samsung announced their first “Smartwatch” this week called the “Galaxy Gear” which becomes available September 25.  Similar products are expected from Apple – possibly as soon as announced next week during their September 10 event.

The following are fitness gadgets that could be especially useful (and fun) for older adults and seniors:

1. FitBit Zip, $59.99,, Target, Best Buy

The FitBit Zip is a device that clips to a pocket or belt buckle and monitors how many steps you take daily.  The device is the size of a quarter and is waterproof.  Accompanying programs for the computer and apps for your phone help you set goals for weight loss and general cardio health.  By setting up a free fitness profile with FitBit, the FitBit Zip will encourage you to take more steps, and it’s accompanying app will update you when you’ve reached your daily, weekly, and monthly goals.  If you’re counting calories and watching your dietary intake, the Zip (and other FitBit products) sync up fantastically with most of your Fitness Apps.  Double tap the Zip’s screen and it tells you the time, double tap again and you get a smiley face that may brighten up your day.  Comes in different colors to match your general clothing style.  Comes with a long lasting battery (watch battery), needs replacing every 6 months if used daily.

2. FitBit Flex, $99.99,, Target, Best Buy

The FitBit Flex is a lot like the zip, but it’s harder to lose.  It fits like a nice wristband and comes in a multitude of colors.  Not only does the Flex track steps (like the Zip), but it also has a “sleep mode” that monitors your sleep cycle(s).  Both steps and sleep data are instantly available on your mobile device, with a slightly faster sync than the Zip.  The Flex doesn’t have a screen, so there is no number of steps available on the device to easily see.  Instead, 5 dots are lit up to let you know how far away from your daily walking goal you are.  Once your daily goal has been met, the device will quietly buzz, letting you know you’ve completed your activity goal.  Also like the Zip, it syncs up with popular Calorie Counting Apps.  “MyFitnessPal” seems to work best.  The device gets power from a charge, and comes with a USB “dongle” charger.  A full charge lasts around 5 days.

3. Samsung Galaxy Gear, $299, Available 9/25/13

The first of what will probably be many “Smartwatches” features many components that will help fitness.  It also looks like a generally nifty device.  From what information has been released, it seems that Apps will be what drives the use of this device.  This smart device will be able to monitor heart rate, which neither of the FitBits do.  The device also will count calorie intake, and allow you to take pictures of your food.

Seniors Guide Staff

Seniors Guide has been addressing traditional topics and upcoming trends in the senior living industry since 1999. We strive to educate seniors and their loved ones in an approachable manner, and aim to provide them with the right information to make the best decisions possible.

Seniors Guide Staff