Updated December 2020
Fitness trackers are all the rage.
These wearable technologies help you lead a fitter and healthier life, as they easily track your fitness levels.
Whether your goal for the year is to get physically more active or training for a sports event, tracking your fitness is going to be simpler than ever with a fitness tracker.
These small tech-gadgets are going to evolve with exciting features and capabilities in the near future. In the meantime, you ought to know what the good bits and bad bits of using fitness trackers are.
Are these fitness tracker devices really useful? Do fitness trackers work?
Let’s crack on and discover whether it’s worth the investment.
What is a wearable Fitness Tracker?
A fitness tracker is a wearable, hi-tech device that measures your movements and motions with the help of integrated sensors. It is a type of wearable computer, if you will. The term is now primarily used for smartwatches that are synced, in many cases, wirelessly, to a computer or smartphone for long-term data tracking.
It will collect data and convert them into related metrics, such as general activity, steps count, heart rate, calories burned, sleep quality, etc.
To track the number of stairs you’ve climbed, there’s a specific sensor called “altimeter” which measures your altitude. The more sensors in your gadget, the more accurate it’ll be.
This wearable gadget can track your daily steps, monitor your heart rate, sleeping patterns and even log your food intake – all while you carry out your daily routines.
How does a wearable Fitness Tracker work?
It sits quietly on your wrist: counting up your steps, tracking your sleep, monitoring your heart and calculating the difference between a light jog and a mad sprint. But how exactly does your fitness tracker come up with all the statistics that appear on the accompanying app?
Simply speaking, fitness trackers measure motion: most of today’s wearables come with a 3-axis accelerometer to track movement in every direction, and some even come with a gyroscope too to measure orientation and rotation.
The data collected is then converted into steps and activity, and from there, into calories and sleep quality, though there is some guesswork involved along the way.
All of this information is collected and crunched to create an overall reading, and the more sensors your tracker has, the more accurate its data.
These sensors measure the acceleration, frequency, duration, intensity and patterns of your movement – taken together that’s a good bunch of data, and it can help a tracker work out if you’re walking down the road or just waving at someone you know.
Top Benefits of a wearable Fitness Tracker
This has to be the top reason why fitness trackers are good, especially for those who need that little push to get out there and workout.
Almost all fitness trackers integrate with third-party apps, on which you can post your workout sessions or challenge your friend to hold yourself accountable for your fitness regime.
Research tells us that such social touch to workouts help you perform exercise regularly, without being lazy!
Nothing like a social share to make you feel motivated, eh?
2. Daily Motivation
Another biggie is that it provides you with visual progress. You get to see how many steps you’ve taken, how many calories you’ve burned and so on.
For being active, it is recommended to take minimum 10,000 steps per day. Adding to that, many fitness trackers let you see what time of the day you are most active. Some trackers even remind you to take a walk or do exercise when you’ve stopped being active in a while.
All these numbers alone are quite a motivation for many! They help you get up and get going.
3. Track your Sleep
Quality of your sleep greatly affects your metabolism, mood, cravings and energy levels, says research. The quality of your sleep is one of the most important indicators of your health and fitness level.
Today, many fitness trackers can track sleep patterns using movement sensors, and show how deep or light your sleep was, how long you’ve slept, and how many times you woke up.
The fitness tracker uses it’s accelerometer to measure your body movement and assess whether you’re asleep or awake.
Such information will help you make better choices before going to bed and improve your sleeping patterns over time.
4. Set your own unique fitness goals
There’s a huge difference between wanting to be healthy, and actively working with a plan to lead a healthy lifestyle.
There’s nothing more motivating than setting your own fitness goals and working daily towards achieving them.
Whether it’s a weight loss program or training for a triathlon, fitness trackers help you set goals and achieve them over the course of time.
Goal setting keeps you focused and motivates you to accomplish them even more.
5. Make mindful food choices
Being active is not the only thing you need to be happy and healthy. A healthy diet plan is as crucial as an active lifestyle.
A tracker will let you log your food intake as well as your water intake. You can enter your water intake per day, food choices, and then calculate the quality of your diet plan to make better choices each and every day.
6. Monitors your Heart Rate
Without using a chest strap, a fitness tracker can monitor your heart rate by measuring your pulse.
Integrated sensors aim light towards blood vessels in your wrist, detecting any changes in blood volume as your heart pumps blood.
Changes in the blood volume are detected by checking the amount of light reflected.
Less amount of light indicates a high amount of blood volume was pumped and vice versa! Thus, the wearer gets to know the right intensity to perform exercise, and when not to overdo it.
Some fitness trackers can even detect common types of irregular heartbeats.
7. Stay Connected
Strapping on a fitness tracker can also notify of your incoming calls, text messages or emails without you having to look at your smartphone.
So, not only you can measure your sleep or track your health and fitness progress, you can now also answer to calls, messages and see notifications from social platforms, such as Facebook and Instagram. So you will not miss anything and be in the right place at the right time. Multi-tasking taken to the next level!
Cons of a wearable Fitness Tracker
Not everything works and goes as planned. There are a couple of disadvantages that you may want to take into account….
Most fitness trackers are not 100% accurate. For example – steps. These little devices cannot really count all your steps, therefore you cannot truly rely on these devices if the step counter is your number one priority.
These little smart bands are electronic, therefore you have to charge them so they can work properly. And it’s yet one more device to be charged daily!
The battery run-time of fitness trackers can be a critical issue, as most of them do not last long. And, it can be quite frustrating to charge these devices on a daily basis. If you forget to charge it, it won’t be long until the battery drains off whilst you are exercising.
We’ve already talked about the accuracy of steps.
The same thing is true about calories. If your fitness tracker cannot count all the steps accurately, it stands to reason your calories are also an approximation. It is a big downfall if you would like to lose a weight, since your calories are counted just approximately.
How long do wearable Fitness Trackers last?
On average, wearable Fitness Trackers last around 5 years. Generally speaking, the straps on the fitness trackers and screen is the likely culprit of your Fitness Tracker meeting its sticky end!
Is it worth getting a Fitness Tracker?
Wearable fitness trackers are one of today’s top fitness trends as they encompass an array of technological features.
They can be a really useful tool if they are suitable for you and serve your fitness requirements. Fitness trackers are without a doubt a trend that can be useful in the fitness industry. They are user friendly, promote motivation in your activity, can do a lot more than just track steps – like double up as a watch and let’s be honest, a very good gift idea!
However, it is imperative to understand that the figures you see may not be 100% accurate when it comes to energy expenditure. Just note that at the end of the day, no technology is perfect but feel free to try them, find one you enjoy and have fun with them.
And of course, Christmas is just around the corner…
If you need a bit more motivation than a fitness tracker, get in touch with me, as I can certainly help you meet your 2021 fitness goals!