As Atlanta's Beltline continues to expand, more people are utilizing the multi-use trail to shrink their waistlines and reach other fitness goals. If you are running, walking, cycling or skating on the Beltline, you may want to monitor your workouts and stay connected as you navigate the miles of historic former rail corridors and trails circling downtown.
Wearable technology, which can do anything from tell time to provide GPS directions, could be a great workout partner.
There is a significant difference in products on the market. Activity trackers measure and record daily workouts and other health-related information (such as blood pressure, heart rate and sleep patterns) without smartphone capabilities. Many of the smartwatches, or wearables, can perform similar tasks while providing the same services as smartphones and computers when connected to the Internet.
Here's a look at six wearables from AT&T that should be on your radar:
1. Samsung Gear S and Samsung Gear Fit (from $168.99 to $299.99) – The Samsung Gear S is the first wearable with 4G network capability, but it allows you to remain connected on the trail without requiring smartphone accompaniment. With the Gear S, you can track your fitness goals and literally stay on track with turn-by-turn GPS directions and maps. You also can check email and answer phone calls. The Gear S's full keyboard and voice control lets you compose messages right from your wrist.
"When you're on the Beltline and you're trying to check your speed and your mileage, this wearable allows you to do that without a separate device," said Dwan Hubbard, an AT&T sales operation manager who frequently jogs on the Beltline. "It also allows you to listen to your music as well, so there's no need for a separate music device."
The Gear Fit has many of the same capabilities, along with voice-command GPS technology and a heart rate monitor.
2. Timex Ironman One GPS+ ($199.99) – This wearable is both an activity tracker and smartphone, with a built-in GPS device and the ability to send and receive emails and phone calls. Perhaps the most noteworthy feature on the Ironman One GPS + is an SOS button, which allows you to designate family or friends to alert in the event of an emergency.
"If you are like me and you're running on the Beltline at night, you can push the SOS button if something happens and you need to contact a friend, and they can locate where you are," Hubbard said. "It's a nice feature."
3. LG Watch Urbane ($349.99) – The Urbane is another wearable that makes communication possible without an accompanying device. It also has a built-in PPG Sensor that tracks your pace, speed, heart rate and distance. The Urbane also contains an "Always On" watch face with a long-lasting 410 mAh battery that displays your daily schedule, important notifications and social updates at a glance.
4. Fitbit Charge Activity Tracker (from $129 to $149) – These activity trackers are among the most popular on the market, with the higher-end models featuring information on heart rate, steps distance and calories burned, along with exercise apps, sleep tracking, caller ID and a five-day battery life.
"Fitbits are popular because they're in several price points and it covers your heart rate, your steps and your calories burned, along with your sleeping patterns," said Hubbard, who also pointed out Fitbits have Bluetooth connectivity that can be used with an accompanying smartphone. "It's one of our best-selling activity trackers."
5. Healbe GoBe Calorie and Body Tracker ($299) – The most notable feature on the Healbe GoBe is the calorie counter. It's the only activity tracker that automatically measures calories consumed and burned, along with hydration, activity, heart rate, blood pressure, sleep and stress.
"There's no logging in or guesswork – it measures and monitors just by being on your body," Hubbard said, noting the information recorded can be delivered directly to your smartphone. "That separates this activity tracker from all the other ones we have. It's an excellent one."
6. Withings Activite ($450) – The Swiss-made Activite has two attractive features. It's waterproof, so you can measure your swimming sessions (although it might take you away from the Beltline for a while). The battery life also is impressive. The Activite also syncs up with the Health Mate app with a built-in activity tracker that needs no buttons or beeps to reflect your daily progress.
"The best thing about this device is that it has up to eight months of battery life with no charging," Hubbard said. "There are times when I want to run at 9 p.m. and my battery is dead, or I'm in the middle of my run and the battery dies. The eight-month battery life sets this activity tracker from everything else."
This article is presented in collaboration with AT&T. Visit the website for more information.