Fitness trackers are getting more popular and that is a good thing. It means people are becoming more conscious about their overall health and fitness. For sure you’ve seen this slim, futuristic-looking, yet elegant accessory that adorns the wrists of many people. Fitness trackers aren’t only worn in the gym. No doubt, you’ve seen people wear them at work, while grocery shopping or dining at a restaurant.
What Is A Fitness Tracker
Fitness trackers are electronic fitness monitors. It is a device that helps you stay on top of your health and fitness goals by tracking valuable data on your daily activities. Also referred to as fitness wearables, it became popular after the Center for Disease Control (CDC) released a study that showed people should walk a minimum of 10,000 steps per day in order to keep their heart healthy, lose weight, and improve overall health.
When it was first introduced to the public, a fitness tracker was simply an accelerometer equipped with sensors that counted the number of steps you take in a day.
Today’s fitness trackers come with a variety of features:
- Heart rate monitor
- Sleep tracker
- Body thermometer
- Ambient low lighting detector
- Stress tracker
- VO2 Max (lung capacity) tracker
Fitness trackers are often packaged with a software app. You can upload data from the fitness tracker to the app and get professional analysis plus recommendations on how to improve on your current level of performance.
There are fitness wearables that are designed specifically for an activity. You can find one that will help you achieve personal bests in running, swimming, cycling, and weight-lifting.
The smart watch has likewise incorporated many of the basic features of the fitness tracker. Not only can you keep track of your fitness levels, but you can also stay on top of your obligations to family and work.
5 Benefits Of Wearing A Fitness Tracker
Why do you think “to lose weight” is both the most popular and most popularly broken resolution for the New Year? Starting a resolution is easy. The excitement builds as you buy new workout clothes, shoes, and vitamins.
However, maintaining the resolution is a whole new different story. As you progress, the workouts become harder. What seemed like a fun pastime has turned into a painful nightmare of Olympic proportions.
When the workout becomes difficult and the diet more restrictive, do you only realize that achieving health and fitness is more than just a physical endeavour. It is also emotional and mental. People simply quit on their fitness goals because they can no longer handle the pressure coming from all sides.
Wearing electronic fitness monitors will not make the workout easier or the diet more palatable. What a fitness tracker will do is make you accountable for the success of your program.
- Keep You Moving – You don’t have to go to a local gym to find value in a fitness tracker. When you see that as of 3:00pm, you have so far logged in 5,000 steps, wouldn’t you be motivated to walk some more?
- Provides Motivation – Fitness trackers provide motivation in many ways. You can post your workouts and images on social media to make you consciously accountable for fulfilling your goals. You can review your previous performance and stay motivated knowing you can still improve your best time.
- Allows You to Customize Goals – Do you want to lose weight? Are you looking to build muscle? Do you want to become a better runner? You can download an app to suit your goals. Upload data from your fitness tracker and get recommendations on how to hit your goals.
- Keeps You on Your Diet – Many people will agree that staying on a diet is the hardest part of staying fit. A fitness tracker can give you information on the best foods to eat, data on macronutrients, and keep track of your current calorie count.
- Helps You Monitor Overall Health – Regular exercise and following a healthy diet are just two components of a fitness lifestyle. You should also get at least eight hours of good quality sleep every night and manage daily stress levels. There are models of fitness trackers that can help you improve on these areas.
How To Choose The Best Fitness Tracker For You
Not all fitness trackers are created equal. Some have more features than others. The price range will also vary. The reason for this is that people use fitness trackers for different reasons.
Just because your friend is a champion triathlete doesn’t mean you should buy the same fitness tracker he uses. Buying the most expensive fitness tracker does not guarantee you quality of performance and results.
Choosing a fitness tracker because it has the highest number of features may not be a good idea if you cannot dedicate enough time in the week to exercise. It should come down to which model of fitness tracker best suits your needs.
What Are Your Goals?
Why do you want to buy a fitness tracker? Do you want to lose a few pounds of fat? Do you want to gain a few pounds of muscle? Are you planning to enter your first marathon? Are you training for a triathlon? Do you prefer a heart rate fitness tracker? Before buying a fitness tracker, you have to identify your goals.
If you are just looking to improve your health and lose a bit of weight, a simple fitness tracker like a FitBit Zip Activity Tracker or GymBoss 2 Interval Trainer should be good enough. These fitness trackers will keep track of your steps, monitor your heart rate, log in the total distance covered and record the total number of calories burned.
If you are training for a long run or a triathlon, you may consider a Garmin Forerunner 235. This fitness tracker can measure total distance covered, average pace per run, and includes a heart rate monitor plus a recovery advisor which will inform you if your body is ready for the next run.
What Is Your Fitness Level?
Buying a $249 Garmin Forerunner 235 may make you look cool but you’ll hardly need its features if you’re a beginner. If you’re starting out, choose a fitness tracker with basic features like a Jawbone or a FitBit Flex 2.
For beginners, models that feature an accelerometer, heart rate fitness tracker, and calorie counter should be good enough.
Once you have seriously invested time and effort in your fitness regimen and have the progress to show for it, reward yourself with a fitness tracker with more bells and whistles. Until then, stick to the basics.
What Is Your Current Lifestyle?
Fitness tracker or smartwatch? Like we mentioned earlier, the smartwatch has taken on many of the key features of a fitness tracker. However, on average, a smart watch costs more than a fitness tracker. Your decision may come down to your current lifestyle.
If you’re the type who must constantly keep track of work at the office, then the smart watch is the obvious choice. A smartwatch can let you receive and read emails. The Apple Watch Series 3 and the Samsung Gear S3 will even allow you to answer phone calls like Dick Tracy!
Other interesting features of a smart watch:
- Keep track of weather conditions
- Stream music
- Read local news
- Play games
- Check your bank account balance
You’ll be hard pressed to find a decent smartwatch below the price of the Garman Forerunner 235 which is already one of the more expensive fitness trackers.
However, if a smartwatch allows you to incorporate fitness with your responsibilities at the home and the office, then it will be worth the extra expense.
Are You Particular About Design?
If you want data to be accurate, you should wear your fitness tracker all the time. Some people even shower with it. And of course, you will have to wear it to the office. Although fitness trackers look like they were straight out of a Star Trek movie, it may not complement your sense of style
Most fitness trackers are worn on the wrist. There are some models that you can simply clip onto your shirt. Fitness tracker models like the Misfit Shine 2 and the Withings Go have varieties for both styles. The FitBit Flex 2 can be worn like a wrist watch or as a pendant.
More advanced fitness trackers such as the FitBit Blaze appear bulkier because of its LCD screen. These types of fitness trackers look like wrist watches with a large, round face.
Conclusion – What Is Your Budget?
We saved the final consideration for our conclusion. It may come down to how much money you can spend on wearable fitness trackers. This question is often answered with another question, “How much are you willing to spend on your health?”
Although there is no direct correlation between price and quality, buying an expensive fitness tracker may motivate you to stay committed to your program.
At the same time, you shouldn’t sacrifice this month’s rent, electricity bills, or groceries just to buy an Apple Watch Series 3 smartwatch for $1,149 just because it comes with a leather strap by Hermes!
There are good electronic fitness monitors that you can buy for under $100 such as the Garmin Vivosmart 3. It has a heart rate and stress monitor, workout tracker and a highly-innovative VO2 Max tracker.
The best answer to this question is your budget should afford you a fitness tracker that will help you attain your goals. Choosing a fitness tracker isn’t always about finding the best fitness wearable. More often than not, it is about choosing the right one for you.