People across the globe are seeking efficient ways to improve their health. What worked for us before in nutrition, physical activity, and even doctor visits is giving way to exciting new trends and customizable options that make self-care more rewarding than ever before.
Some of the most common questions many people ask when they want to buy a fitness tracker is whether a device is waterproof, does it offer detailed sleep insights, how good is the battery life, can it measure blood oxygen levels and how much it costs.
The fitness tracker is a personalized device that helps you understand your body and your daily routines.
This data gives you valuable information regarding what works best for you as you seek to improve your health.
Busy professionals, multitasking moms, and professional athletes are all getting on the tracker bandwagon as exciting new opportunities for collecting and using information promise to make our fitness dreams a reality.
Read on for more information about this exciting little gadget, and see which features and styles would fit into your busy lifestyle.
What is a fitness tracker?
A fitness tracker is a wearable device that allows you to measure all kinds of health tracking data related to daily activity and health metrics.
With the seed idea first penned by Leonardo da Vinci, many evolutions of this health-enhancing technology have been created and eventually morphed into the high-tech gadgets that we see today.
As commonly worn as today’s smartwatch, they record data on everything from heart rate and sleep tracking to blood oxygen levels and metabolic rate.
Choosing the best fitness tracker for you involves more than just style and price.
Seeing the potential of these devices to improve overall health and well-being and knowing more about their capabilities will give you the information you need to find your perfect match.
Do all fitness trackers do the same thing?
Fitness trackers and their capabilities are constantly evolving, with more advanced versions being rolled out that cover more than just the basics.
Some of the more basic models measure the following data:
- Minutes of activity
- Distance traveled/GPS distance
- Calories burned
- Heart rate data
For many, this is enough information to remain on the straight and narrow when it comes to incorporating physical activity.
More advanced and new fitness tracker technology includes:
- Blood oxygen levels
- Sleep tracking
- Sleep stages
- Sleep quality
- Stress levels
- Metabolic rate
- Period tracking
- A log of specific exercises performed
Other models feature still more customizable options including alarms, personal fitness coaching, calorie counting, and activity reminders.
Some function as personal assistants as well, receiving phone notifications and calls, emails, and texts while connected to your smartphone.
What features differentiate fitness trackers?
In general, basic models offered by Garmin, Fitbit, and Samsung collect the most basic information.
These are available at modest prices, and many first-time users opt for this technology as a way of learning to incorporate it into daily life.
Fitness trackers with heart-rate monitors and metabolic calculators are a bit more expensive.
If you have been efficiently using basic technology for a while and want to experience the next level of fitness accountability, consider trading up for one that offers more data collection options.
Those who are training for marathons or professional sporting events or are outdoor enthusiasts, might consider a specialized model that offers interval timing, training log data, body composition, and lap counters for running and swimming.
Water resistant fitness watches
While most fitness trackers are sweat-resistant, a few models offer complete water resistance that is perfect for swimming, diving, and even casual water aerobics.
Those who participate in these activities should invest the extra money in a device that will continue to track even when submerged in water.
Some of the high-end water resistant models are submersible up to 330 feet, making them perfect for those off-the-coast diving expeditions that are calling your name.
Learn more about water resistant fitness trackers here.
Fitness wearables with 3G/4G/5G connectivity
One of the most important factors to consider in a fitness wearable is its ability to connect.
We need to be able to access data related to activity levels and heart rate at various times during the day, and the way your device connects to other devices is an important factor to consider.
Many fitness trackers offer smartphone app technology to help you track progress, engage in goal setting, and connect with other people who are using the same device.
Many of us benefit from a little fitness motivation from time to time as well; having the option to connect with other people who are also engaged in fitness activities gives us that extra boost of connection and motivation that we need to continue pursuing our fitness goals.
Ensuring that your device has the proper 3G/4G/5G capability will be something to consider as you plan to purchase.
Fitness watches with connection to third party apps
It seems as if everyone is getting on the third-party app train when it comes to designing fitness applications that can be utilized by fitness tracker technology.
Many of these apps are now designed with activity tracker use in mind, and connecting to them is as simple as downloading the app on your smartphone and then synching up with your existing tracker.
GPS activity tracking technology
With GPS technology on your fitness tracker, you are able to track running and walking routes, speeds, and even altitudes.
Those who enjoy a regular exercise routine, hiking, biking, running and even skiing benefit from this added technology.
Music options for fitness trackers
Modern trackers have come a long way since the days of revealing heart rate and calories burned.
Many fitness enthusiasts enjoy a good rousing session of music to accompany physical activity, and today’s sophisticated tracker models also allow for connectivity to your favorite music apps to make working out more enjoyable.
Spotify, Deezer, and Pandora are just a few of the many music options you have when employing some of the higher-end technology that fitness trackers offer.
If, however, these watches feel a little too pricey for your budget then the Fitbit Sense is a great alternative.
Factors to consider when choosing a fitness tracker
When choosing the right tracker for you and your daily activity, there are some factors that must be considered to ensure that you are getting the most bang for your buck.
- Operating System
Do you have an IOS or Android smartphone?
Choosing the right tracker that will sync up with your existing technologies can not only save you money, but it will simplify the process of getting started as you track your fitness goals.
Trackers are meant to be an interactive experience.
Choosing a tracker with an easy-to-read display, such as the Garmin Venu 2, will allow you to easily access reminders and accomplishments as you reflect on the activities of your day, making it easier to make changes to your routine as needed.
- Battery life
Nothing is more frustrating when using smart technology than having to constantly look for a place to charge devices.
Finding a tracker with a longer battery life, like the 10-day operating window of the Fitbit Inspire 3, will ensure that you remain in business as you go about your daily activities.
Activity trackers are a significant investment for many; choosing the right one for your budget will make you feel good about your investment and inspire you to utilize the technology to improve your health.
Trackers such as the Fitbit Inspire give a good overview of applications without breaking the bank, and they can serve as a gateway to using other technologies as your fitness goals evolve.
- Fitness goals
What are your fitness goals? Where do you want to go, and what do you want to achieve? Clarifying what you want to use your tracker for will quite often determine the kind of technology you end up purchasing.
Trackers such as the Garmin Vivoactive 4 give a comprehensive smattering of data collection options while remaining within budget for many fitness enthusiasts.
Choosing a fitness tracker is like choosing a workout companion that you take with you through life.
Using available technologies to reflect, inspire, and motivate you to higher goals will ultimately improve your health and your quality of life.
Let’s get moving!
Want to find a the fitness tracker for you? Check out our buyers guides: