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Fitness Tools for Every Athlete

5. Activity Tracking

This feature lets you make notes about your workouts and other activities. If you’re a competitive athlete, an activity tracker is a great way to keep a detailed record of your training regimen. Activity trackers are also useful for setting goals and tracking progress.

Some programs let you enter information about how you feel, what you eat, and other data. They can help you spot patterns you might not otherwise notice, such as when you have the most energy during the day or when you tend to feel tired.

"Tracking programs can alert elite athletes to signs of overtraining, such as fatigue and sleep problems," says Carol Torgan, PhD, a blogger and consultant on biosensor technologies.

6. Computer Links and Social Networking

Many fitness devices let you download data to your computer into charts and graphs. You can often share that information.

Think of it as "wear, share, compare," Torgan says. "You can go for a run and then share your results, such as time and distance, with your friends."

7. Sleep Monitors

Sleep may not seem to have a lot to do with exercise. But if you're tired during the day because you didn't sleep well, your performance will be affected.

Some home-based sleep monitors record brain waves via sensors in headbands worn at night. Others measure your movements during sleep.

Few of the devices on the market have been scientifically tested for accuracy. If you often have problems falling or staying asleep, even after you make sleep a priority on your schedule, check in with your doctor.

Reviewed on August 25, 2014

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