Should I Get a Fitness Tracker?
Fitness trackers and smartwatches experienced a huge boom in the past few years. I have used a few in the last four years so let me try break down the pros and cons to you if you are considering getting your first one.
What do they do?
All fitness trackers effectively pack similar features and they differ in the amount of features you can get in certain price groups. However, they will all track:
- Heart rate
- Calories burned
- Distance walked
These are the main three information that just about every fitness tracker out there delivers. There are also many other features that you will notice but not every fitness tracker packs the same bundle.
- Sleep tracking
- Workout recognition
- Solar Battery
- Rep counter
- and many, many more…
Prices and Types
Now, you can get them as cheap as £20 and as expensive as £1 000. So I guess you have worked out that the £20 one will not give you many functions. It will probably get you the first basic three ones I mentioned and the data won’t most likely be very accurate. I have tried these cheap ones and their steps are way too off 🙁
So what is the golden middle way? So far I have always been very happy with Fitbit, owning Charge 2 and Inspire HR, I have always targeted the budget equipment. That said, I have been extremely happy with my Fitbit Inspire HR for the past 2 years and for several reasons.
- It has an amazingly accurate sleep tracking
- Heart rate is not 100% because it takes time to catch up if you enter a heart rate zone of 160 bpm or more but for the price (I got it for £70), it reacts fairly quickly compared to Charge 2 which was over £100 (it is considerably older though so I need to cut it some slack)
- It recognises many workouts from Bootcamp to Yoga and Golf (although you can only have 6 exercises saved to your device)
- It’s extremely good at automatically recognising and tracking swimming! With time and distance! Without me even turning the swimming shortcut on.
- It’s waterproof
- Battery lasts a week
- It supports notifications from your phone
- Automatically recognises walking, swimming, running and workout
- It has a GPS
If you are someone who just wants to give fitness tracker a go I can 100% recommend Fitbit Inspire HR! For the price, you are getting a gadget that’s packed with data 🙂
Fitness trackers aside, you can also get something regarded as Sport Watch.
Sport Watch basically has all the features of your regular fitness tracker but packed in a watch face. What else is slightly different about them is that they:
- Quite often have intuitive touch screen or several buttons to navigate through slightly more complex menu
- Offer the possibility to install apps into the device such as Spotify for your music or a weather app so they work a little more like your phone
- Offer a reply to notifications
- Track ECG (electrocardiogram) which is supposed to track heart health and notify you if there is any abnormality
- Are able to establish your Vo2Max = how well does your body utilise oxygen. It’s a way to track overall fitness because the better your body uses oxygen, the fitter you are
- Have a colourful display of a better quality
The top range of fitness tracking equipment are Smart Watches.
I wouldn’t normally include these because they are aimed more at people interested in smart watch features but there have been an explosion and brands that have always been associated with normal watches (Fossil, Tag Heuer) started doing smart watches that include fitness tracking.
Smart Watches are for you if you want the watch to make your life more easy and organised and on top of that might be interested in a little fitness data. Apart from what we have already mentioned, this group is usually packed with extra features such as:
- Being able to make calls
- Maps and navigation
- Easy replies straight from your watch
- Calendar and notifications
Basically, you can think of it as an extension to your smart phone. Smart Watch usually runs on an operating software like Android or iOS, however Google have just launched their new operating system Wear OS and this is available on a wide range of different brands of watches such as the above mentioned Tag Heuer, Fossil or Michael Kors so you can now have stylish watch but with smart features. I think it’s and excellent idea but unfortunately it’s not for me because I am more interested in fitness data.
Should I get one? And Which One?
Speaking for myself, I think they are an excellent addition to a healthy lifestyle.
You can get insight on your sleep and activity. Many people probably consider themselves active but after looking through the data collected they are horrified how very little activity they do in a day.
If you are someone who is trying to move more I definitely recommend getting at least the fitness tracker. They give you gentle reminders to move that you can customise. You can also set your own goals, for example walk 10 000 steps or 5 miles a day. My goals are 2 000 calories and 10 000 steps.
I am now progressing from Fitbit Fitness Tracker onto a Garmin Sport Watch so that makes me incredibly excited about the new gadget and that’s part of the fun 🙂 At the times when we are glued to the screens literally craving for data, these gadgets are incredibly stimulating. You can check charts and graphs, ladies can track their period and many other cool stuff. All of these, regarding if it’s a smart watch, sport watch or a simple tracker, are linked to an app where you can see all the data and charts.
Get a Fitness Tracker if you:
- Are not interested in extending the smartphone onto your wrist
- Don’t need notifications
- Are interested in simple fitness data
- Are starting out with fitness and just want to keep an eye on your overall activity levels
- Don’t need fancy smart gadgets
- Are not bothered about a big screen (all the data is in your app anyway)
- Want a budget device
- Need a long battery life
Get a Sport Watch if you:
- Are a little more serious about fitness and want to track workouts more accurately – perhaps through a rep counter
- Are into complex data about Vo2Max and the level of training (overtraining and undertraining)
- Need a decent fitness info and still have a good battery life (5 – 7 days)
- Need more exercises that just basic walk, run, yoga, bootcamp. Smart watches do activities like paddle boarding, surfing and hiking.
- Want a little more interaction with your smartphone but are not bothered about a screen quality so much
- Fancy a tracker that looks more like a watch
- Are a runner and want to stream or download music to your watch
Get Smart Watch if you:
- Want to have your smartphone activity on you all the time
- Don’t mind charging it every day
- Want to make calls through your watch
- Need a beautiful screen with crisp colours
- Don’t mind spending the money (£300+)
- Are into new gadgets with loads of functions
So there you go guys. I hope I helped you make a choice if you are thinking about getting one of these kits. They are an amazing addition to anyone who wants to improve the understanding of their body and consequently improve health.
Let me know what you think in the comments and stay tuned for my new gear review 🙂