How Fitness Bands Work and Are They Worth It?
Fitness bands are a great way to stay motivated and on track with your fitness goals.
They’re convenient, affordable, and allow you to sync up with friends who also have fitness bands. But how do they work?
What should you look for when buying one? And are they worth it in the end? Let’s find out!
1. What fitness bands are and how they work
If you’re not familiar with the term “fitness bands,” it basically refers to activity trackers.
While they may look like watches, fitness bands are really just specialised pedometers that measure your steps taken, distance travelled, calories burned and even how well you sleep each night.
The band itself is typically worn on either the wrist or attached to clothing (such as a belt, pocket or bra). Some models also come in the form of clips that attach to pockets or shoes.
Using onboard sensors and an accelerometer (the same technology used by mobile phones), these devices take note of every movement throughout the day—and if it’s set up correctly, while you sleep at night, too.
If you’ve been travelling a lot lately, though, you may have noticed that the device has been counting some of your steps as being “taken” while flying and in an automobile (but you can usually adjust and calibrate it to exclude most of these false readings).
2. What to look for when buying a fitness band
Now that we know what they are and how they work, let’s take a look at some important considerations when shopping around:
Accuracy is extremely important!
The whole point of wearing one of these devices is to make sure you get the most accurate tracking possible without having to obsessively keep track of yourself.
Look for something with leading-edge accelerometer technology or dual-axis tech (which can better distinguish between steps and arm movements, resulting in a more accurate stride count).
Perhaps you’re an apple fanatic? Then look for something that works with your Apple products.
Maybe you prefer to run or cycle? Then trackers like the FitBit Surge might be worth looking into.
Don’t forget about battery life! Removable batteries are great because it means you can carry around a simple charging cable and quickly recharge wherever there is an available plug.
This also makes them easy to replace if they die out or stop working.
Non-removable batteries typically last anywhere from four days to two weeks on one charge, depending on how many bells and whistles they have.
Anyone who has ever worn a rubber band around their wrist for a day knows you don’t want something that’s going to be too uncomfortable!
Look for bands with comfortable straps and lightweight designs.
Fitness trackers vary significantly in price, from a few dollars to hundreds of dollars, so spend wisely!
If you’re unsure about which tracker you want, consider buying one at your local sporting goods store first before purchasing it online without being able to try it on.
3. Are fitness bands worth it?
In a word, yes!
All things considered, activity trackers are definitely worth it if they can give you the motivation and inspiration you need to get off the couch and reach your fitness goals.
The more accurate the device, the better it is at accurately monitoring distance, steps and calories, so don’t settle for anything less...
Also consider whether you want one with extra features like built-in music storage (which allows you to leave your phone at home while you work out), or sleep tracking.
Finally, choose a comfortable design that won't irritate the skin on your wrist (or wherever else you end up wearing it).
3. How to use a fitness band for the most benefit
All fitness trackers have a companion app that helps you to analyse your workout data and encourages you to stay motivated.
Without one, these devices don’t work! The apps will give you the ability to set daily goals, monitor your progress over time and help motivate you when things get tough.
As always, though—there is no magic pill! So if tracking isn’t enough to get you up off of the couch and moving around for at least 30 minutes per day, it might be time to step things up a notch with a personal trainer or professional sports coach.
4. The pros and cons of using a fitness band
Fitness bands are pretty simple devices that don’t get in the way—which is a huge plus!
Most people can get used to wearing them after just a few days and forget they're even there.
However, their simplicity means you won't be able to do anything but monitor your activity and review trends over time; if you want something with more smartwatch capabilities (e.g., messaging and calling) it might be better to look for an alternative like the Apple Watch Series.
- Extra features; Many fitness trackers have built-in screens, music storage, mobile apps and other cool extras. They usually cost more than basic models, though.
- Ease of use; Simple step tracking is very easy to get the hang of, and most fitness bands are also waterproof. However, touchscreens can be a point of weakness for some models!
- Battery life; Fitness trackers with a removable battery usually last about four days on a single charge, while non-removable batteries typically last anywhere from one to two weeks.
- Design; Some activity trackers have rubber or plastic wristbands that look like watch straps—these tend to be more comfortable than those which use metal links or hinges in their straps, but have the drawback of being hard to resize.
5. Who should be using a fitness band?
Everyone can benefit from using a fitness band, but they work best when they’re part of a full health and wellness program.
If you don’t know where to start, a fitness band is a great way to get in shape and make a lasting habit of exercising regularly.
Pair one with a treadmill or elliptical machine to keep your workout from getting stale or enlist the help of a personal trainer if you need some extra motivation!
Fitness bands are a great way to get in shape and make a lasting habit of exercising regularly.
They work best when they're part of a full health and wellness program, but can be used by anyone looking for an easy way to track their activity.
If you're unsure whether or not they're worth it, consider the pros (accurate tracking, extra features) and cons (simple functionality, lack of smartwatch capabilities) before making your decision.