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The Superbowl of Activity Trackers: Fitbit vs. Garmin

activity tracker benefits classroom management fitbit fitness tracker Garmin teachers

Compare fitness Trackers Fitbit Charge 2 and Garmin vivofit which is the best choice for teachers
Yes, fitness trackers are the latest trend in health and wellness, but what does this mean for teachers?
Can wearing a fitness tracker be part of your classroom management plan? What exactly does that look like?
Before we look at what a wrist devise can do for you, let's look at the pros and cons of the Fitbit Charge 2 and the Garmin Vivofit.
Why did I choose these two models? Because I own both of them. The opinions below are totally my own and include affiliate links. 
The Garmin was purchased for my son for Christmas. On the days he forgot to wear it to school, I would usurp it.
When my mom (a former kindergarten teacher and Fitbit fan) wanted to be fit-friends with me, she purchased a Fitbit Charge 2 for me.
Unfortunately I cannot use all of the Charge 2 features because I don't have a smart phone...but that's another blog post!

Pros and Cons of the Garmin Vivofit

Why I love the Garmin Vivofit
  • uses watch batteries and therefore no charging needed - always good to go (batteries last about 1 year)
  • continuous display - a quick glance and you know your stats
  • connects to a heat monitor - this is a big plus for workouts
  • great price - Garmin Vivofit 2 is half the price of the Fitbit Charge 2
  • sets daily goals - celebrate improvement with this smart device that sets goals based on your personal activity - not some standard of fitness, but personalized to you
  • Garmin's website is full of great features, but you can also sync your tracker to Fitbit's web app - so take your choice!
Drawbacks of the Garmin Wrist Tracker
    • the display doesn't light up - so if you're out at night or in a dark room, you cannot see your display
    • it doesn't track flights of stairs
    • there are no vibrations to prompt you into motion, but there is a red bar that grows with prolonged inactivity
    • there is no built-in heart rate tracker

    Pros and Cons of the Fitbit Charge 2

    What I love about the Fitbit Charge 2
    • tracks your heart beat - and categorizes into rest, fat burning...there are others but these are my happy zones. This will give you the most accurate calorie burning info...and credit for the exertion of carrying all your bags, whiteboards and laptop in and out of school each day!
    • Fitbit Charge 2 tracks flights of stairs climbed
    • if you have a smartphone it will notify you of calls, text messages and calendar notifications
    • vibration notifications to meet hourly goals of 250 steps - I love that it reminds me to be consistently active each hour. 
    • sends fun, digital badges for reaching goals and milestones - because we all could use a little recognition
    Drawbacks of the Fitbit Charge 2
    • Cost twice as much as Garmin trackers, which can be tight on a teacher's budget.
    • display goes dark, and should light up when you turn your wrist to view, but it doesn't always work. If it doesn't work, you have to tap on the screen to see, which can be distracting and annoying.
    • you have to charge your device every few days, and you cannot wear it while it's charging. Once you start wearing a wrist tracker, you want to get credit for every step you take. So if you have to stop and charge it, you have to remember to charge while you're grading papers or some long sedentary task

    Best Fitness Tracker for Teachers

      On a basic level, all fitness watches track your steps, evaluate your level of activity and serve as a watch. Therefore all options can help teachers:
      1. Track movement in the classroom that can give you a feel for when you're reaching out more to students, interacting with the class and being active
      2. If you're inactive, so are your students, right? Being notified that you have not moved in a while can help trigger a moment of stretching and blood flow that improves classroom focus, mood and concentration
      3. If you're starting on a new workout plan, it might be helpful to see how much exercise you're already getting. Did you know teachers, on average, walk 2 miles during their school day!
      Where Fitbit has the Upper Hand
      Like I mentioned above in the pros section of the Fitbit, they have a built in heart monitor. This can be extremely important to teachers, for a few little-known reasons:
      1. Are you getting sick? If you're starting to come down with a bug like the flu, your resting heart rate will be higher than normal. We all know the germs that teachers face and this device may help you know when it's time to up the vitamins, clear fluids and rest.
      2. Are there stressful times of day that need to be reworked? With the heart monitor, you can look back on your day and see where your heart rate spikes - this may not sync with your spinning class. It may be the chaos of your morning routine or the bus time frenzy or the dreaded classroom monitoring. Once you can see what this is doing to your stress levels - you've got the numbers in front of you - it's all the motivation you need to find a better way. 
      3. If you have a smart phone and you don't want to be thinking about missed calls and messages throughout the day, the Fitbit Charge 2 gives you the piece of mind to know the 411 on your phone activity so you can be mentally present in the classroom.
      Where Garmin Vivofit has the Upper Hand
        1. The Garmin that I purchased on Amazon was only $40. That's a great bargain for a great product.
        2. The constant display is makes checking your numbers very subtle. When you're in the classroom and 24 sets of eyes are on you, you don't want to be tapping your wrist tracker to get an update on your step count. Garmin has it there for you at a quick glance.
        3. A one-year battery life makes this device maintenance free! It's one less thing you need to manage in your busy day.
        There are many things to consider when choosing an activity tracker, but one thing is for sure, they do play a beneficial role in a teacher's day!
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