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My Misfit Shine, activity tracker

Because I had worked at this newspaper for a number of years, I was given a gift certificate at a local electronics store.

That was pretty cool, of course, and after some thought, I bought myself an activity tracker called a Misfit Shine, and a wireless printer. (That printer is mainly for my husband's use, and it's still sitting in a box, unopened.)

I did unwrap the Shine, and started using it with enthusiasm. In fact, I lost my first Shine after a few weeks, and the company nicely sent me a new one, no questions asked. I really think they have great customer service.

(Later, I found the original Shine in the depths of our living room couch. I apparently lost it while cleaning.)

I like the Shine because it pretty much tracks my day-time activities, and that helps to alleviate guilt I have about not working out enough. To keep up, I basically have to walk, or run, about 20-30 minutes a day. 

One criticism: I also do weight-lifting, and it does not seem to track that activity as well as the walking, swinging my arm.

But I like it.

Wear-able trackers, like the Shine, are the subject of a recent message from the folks at LifeFitness, maker of exercise equipment from Rosemont, Ill.

Here it is:

"Having trouble staying motivated because you're not getting any feedback to keep you going? Welcome to the era of the wearable activity tracker.

"Get instant-feedback about your activity habits, including your sleep, and it might just change your life. In case you're still on the fence, activity trackers aren't going anywhere in 2015. In fact, this trend will continue to grow with new versions and wrists being outfitted each day!

"What's the big deal?

"The reason for the fitness tracker's popularity is simple. In order to make a lifestyle change and create healthy habits, you need motivation and feedback. That's exactly what an activity tracker brings to the table! The band on your wrist is your accountability partner and personal trainer wrapped up in one.

"Trackers give you that extra push in number, chart, and vibration form (a few models will vibrate if you are sitting too long!). Plus, most trackers have the ability to connect with your family and friends to compete in challenges and games if you need any further motivation.

"Will my health actually improve by wearing this?

"The device will give you the data, but the work is up to you. If you walk 9,000 steps, will you take the extra 1,000 to reach the recommended daily amount? If you notice that your sleep patterns are poor, will you change your habits in order to snooze better?

"If you realize that you worked out hard for an hour in the morning but the rest of your day is sedentary, will you start going on an afternoon walk or stand-up more at work? An activity tracker is health in physical form, but can't physically make you do anything. That part is up to you!

"What's the best tracker for me?

"With a plethora of models on the market, deciding on the right activity tracker can be a workout in itself. Do your research and decide what features you need before you go shopping. Most options will track steps, distance, and calories burned.

"Many will also track workouts, while newer models are now tracking heart rate and sleep patterns. But wait that's not all, how much do you want to pay? Do you want it to sync directly to your phone? And last but certainly not least, what color will you sport?

"Will you be tracking your way to better health in 2015?"

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