The 5 Best Walking Gadgets to Buy in 2018

Walking doesn't require any equipment, but gadgets can help you plan and track your walking workouts. They can also make your walking life more pleasant in a variety of ways.

Garmin Forerunner 35

The Forerunner uses built-in GPS to get true distance and speed. Garmin has a variety of models, but the Forerunner 35 provides wrist-based heart rate monitoring. You can pair it with a heart rate monitor strap if you want more accuracy. It has a Virtual Pacer function to help you keep the pace you want. Wonder if you've gone a mile? It will vibrate. It also can alert you for run/walk intervals and automatically track laps. After your walk, you can sync your data to the Garmin Connect site and view a map of your walk and your other stats. It has vibration alerts so you won't miss any milestones, notifications, or virtual pacing progress. It even has music controls. Best of all, you can wear it all day and all night and leave any other pedometer or activity monitor behind. It will log your steps, calories, and intensity minutes as well as reminding you to move when you've been sitting too long.

The Garmin Forerunner 25 has many of the most important features, but does not have wrist-based heart rate. It does track your all-day steps and activity as well as provide GPS for your speed and distance. You can link it to a chest strap heart rate sensor to get heart rate.

Apple Watch

How can an Apple Watch enhance your walking life? Not only does it track your activity and motivate you to move more in three different ways, it has excellent workout features and apps, such as MapMyWalk. Controlling your music, navigating, taking and responding to messages and calls—all of it means keeping your phone secure in your pocket and walking hands-free. It has wrist-based heart rate detection.

The Series 3 Apple Watch has built-in GPS and there are models that have their own cellular LTE connection so you can leave your phone at home if you wish.

The Fitbit family of personal activity trackers keeps growing and improving. They all team with the Fitbit website and/or mobile app so you can track your daily steps, workouts, diet, and sleep quality. The Charge 2 includes wrist-based heart rate and will connect with your phone's GPS for real-time pace and distance stats on your wrist. You can view call, text, and calendar notifications. It has inactivity alerts so you get reminded to move when you've been sitting too long. The Charge 2 automatically detects and tracks your workouts.

Smartphone With GPS Apps

You no longer need to take much with you on a walk other than your smartphone. Whether you use an iPhone or an Android model, it has built-in GPS and you can use apps such as Walkmeter and MapMyWalk to track your walks and give you speed, distance, and interval readings. It has a built-in pedometer function and is counting your steps. You have your music included and a camera. All you really need are earbuds and you can even buy a Bluetooth heart rate monitor strap to get heart rate data to feed into fitness apps. You shouldn't get too badly lost as you have built-in maps and directions to get you where you need to go. If you do, you can use the phone function to call for help.

But smartphones do have some drawbacks. You will need a holder if you want to walk hands-free and the battery will run down when you use some GPS apps for a long walk. If you are out of cell range, you are out of luck, many of your apps won't work in the wilderness.

Bluetooth Heart Rate Monitor Strap

You may have wrist-based heart rate detection with your Fitbit, Garmin, or Apple Watch, but it is not as accurate as a chest strap sensor. Luckily, you can buy a Bluetooth heart rate sensor chest strap and use it to feed data to your fitness phone apps and fitness monitors. This will allow you to use heart rate zones for your workouts.

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