The marketplace for wearable devices is exploding. And if there’s one type of wearable that’s most popular and in-demand, it’s the fitness tracker. The benefits of fitness trackers by Fitbit, Garmin, and others make them particularly valuable for an older demographic, including seniors and elderly individuals.
Fitness trackers are versatile and convenient. They can do a number of things such as monitor heart rate, track sleep, and encourage physical exercise while also being unobtrusive, accessible, and simple to use. This makes them ideal for seniors who need health insights and accountability, but don’t want to figure out another complicated piece of technology.
With so many choices on the market, we’ve decided to simplify the matter and create a comprehensive list of the 9 best fitness trackers for seniors and elderly individuals.
The following 21 fitness tracker features are included in our review:
- Steps Counter – track how many steps you take each day
- Heart Rate Monitor – keep an eye on your heart, especially during exercise
- Sleep Monitor – see how well you are sleeping at night
- Calories Burned Tracker – find out how many calories you burn each day
- Sedentary Move Reminders – receive prompts to get up and move around after being sedentary for a certain period of time
- Call & Text Notifications – get alerts on your fitness tracker when someone calls or texts your phone
- Calendar Alerts – receive reminder notices for upcoming events on your calendar
- Rainproof – safely wear your fitness tracker in the rain
- Smartphone App – check in on your health information through the fitness tracker’s smartphone app
- Screen Size – all of the models feature screens that are large enough for seniors, but they do range in size from as small as 1 inch to as large as 1.42 inches
- Color Display – all but two of the fitness trackers have color displays
- GPS Tracking – most of the fitness trackers in our list have built-in GPS tracking; a few of the models must connect to a smartphone via bluetooth in order to track location by GPS
- Exercise Modes – some fitness trackers have as few as 3 exercise modes while others have as many as 15
- Battery Life – there is a wide range in battery life before needing to be recharged, starting at 4 days and going all the way to 30 days
- Showerproof – most of the models we review are safe to wear in the shower, but there are a few that cannot be worn while showering
- Swimproof – the same fitness trackers that can be worn while showering can also be safely worn while swimming
- Computer & Tablet App – most models allow you to see your health information on your computer and tablet, but a few of them only offer smartphone apps
- Ask Alexa – most of the trackers have a compatible Alexa Skill that can be added to Alexa-enabled devices so you can ask Alexa for your health tracking information; a few of the fitness trackers don’t have this feature
- 3rd Party Apps – the majority of the fitness trackers in our review allow users to download 3rd party apps from an app store
- Customizable Clock Face – all but one of the models allow you to customize the clock face
- Stores & Plays Music – some of the fitness trackers can store music on the device and play that music via bluetooth-connected headphones
Read more about each fitness tracker below:
For the senior who wants all of the functionality that comes with today’s most advanced fitness trackers, but prefers a seamless watch that’s simple to use, the Fitbit Charge 3 is ideal.
The slim tracker automatically measures calorie burn, heart rate, sleep, and exercise (among other things).
It also features a seven-day battery life and two-hour charge time.
The display on the Fitbit Charge 3 is the smallest of the fitness watches that we review, so if you’d like a larger screen then you may want to consider one of the other activity trackers.
- Screen Size – 1 inch
- Color Display – No color
- GPS Tracking – Requires bluetooth-connected smartphone
- Exercise Modes – 15+ Modes
- Battery Life – Up to 7 days before requiring recharge
- Showerproof – Yes
- Steps Counter – Yes
- Heart Rate Monitor – Yes
- Sleep Monitor – Yes
- Calories Burned Tracker – Yes
- Swimproof – Yes, up to 50 meters deep
- Computer & Tablet App – Yes, download the app here
- Ask Alexa – Yes, through this Alexa Skill
- 3rd Party Apps – No
- Customizable Clock Face – Yes
- Stores & Plays Music – No
- Sedentary Move Reminders – Yes
- Call & Text Notifications – Yes
- Calendar Alerts – Yes
- Rainproof – Yes
- Smartphone App – Yes
For the senior who wants a fitness tracker with a few more smart features, the Fitbit Versa is the way to go.
There’s even an on-screen coach to help you through short, daily workouts. Sync with your phone to receive call, text, email, and calendar notifications.
In the Fitbit line of fitness trackers, the Ionic is considered the top model.
In addition to having most of the features included with the Charge 3 and Versa, the Fitbit Ionic also has built-in GPS to track pace, distance, and rates without the need to carry your phone with you.
And with the largest, most durable screen in the industry, you will have the easiest time viewing your screen without having to worry about cracks or scratches.
Fitbit isn’t the only name in the industry. The Amazfit Bip smartwatch by Huami has its own list of compelling features, but at a much lower price point.
Not only can it monitor heart rate 24/7, but it also includes a built-in GPS to track distance and routes in real-time (without the need for your phone). The Amazfit can also receive notifications for SMS, calls, email, Facebook, Twitter, etc.
Best of all, the Amazfit Bip boasts the longest battery life of any fitness tracker: a single 2.5-hour charge can provide up to 30 days of continuous use!
While a little bit bulkier than the Bip, the Amazfit Verge packs a powerful punch for the active senior who wants insights into all of their fitness and activity.
This gives it the ability to control any of your Alexa-enabled devices like the Amazon Echo, Fire TV, Philips Hue lights, Roomba vacuum, and more!
Garmin is one of the leading names in the fitness tracker industry and the Vivoactive 3 Music model is the best the company has to offer.
It has all of the standard features of fitness trackers in the industry, but also has contactless payment solutions, 15 preloaded GPS and indoor sports apps, the ability to store and listen to music, and even a feature to help you understand your stress levels and how you handle certain situations.
The battery lasts up to a week on a single charge, or 13 hours in continuous GPS mode.
For seniors who like to walk and run to stay active, the Garmin Forerunner is a good option.
It has a built-in GPS that allows you to track your route, pace, and step count in real-time – no phone required! Vibration alerts provide helpful prompts when it’s time to get up, and virtual pacing progress is designed to keep you on track.
The Garmin Forerunner 35 is a reliable, simple activity tracker with an only-the-essentials emphasis.
The newer version of the Forerunner 35 is the Forerunner 235.
Seniors may prefer this updated model because it offers a larger touchscreen and gorgeous color interface, but is the same physical size. The battery life is an impressive 9 days in watch mode, or 11 hours in training mode.
The Forerunner 235 features all of the smart notifications that one would expect, as well as audio prompts for staying active.
LETSCOM is a brand you may not have heard of, but they offer a great entry-level tracker for someone who wants a functional, no-frills fitness monitor.
If you’re looking for a fitness tracker that has all of the standard features – like heart rate tracking, sleep monitoring, step counting, and sport modes – but don’t want to spend a lot of money up front, the LETSCOM fitness tracker is for you.
Prioritizing Fitness as a Senior
Fitness means different things to different people, but one thing is certain: exercise is imperative to good health and should be especially prioritized by older adults.
Some may prefer distance running while others may lift weights. Still some may swim and others may follow a daily walking regimen. However you prefer to exercise, there are several fitness trackers that can help support your lifestyle and stay active as you age.
The sooner you tap into these benefits, the more in tune you’ll become with your overall health and wellness.
Buy one today and experience the difference!