Are Fitness Trackers Worth It?
The fitness tracker industry is booming. There are tons of options out there, and it can be difficult to choose which one is the best for you.
We've compiled a list of questions that will help you decide on your perfect fitness tracker for your needs and budget. So read below, and find the answer to all your fitness tracking concerns.
What are fitness trackers and what do they measure?
Fitness trackers are all the rage at the moment, and they can measure just about anything—from your heart rate to the number of steps you take in a day.
What do fitness trackers have to offer?
Fitness tracking has been proven to help people lose weight, reduce sugar intake, sleep better, eat healthier food choices, and more.
These small devices really have changed the way people live and operate daily. In fact, they are probably the first things people look at when they wake up and the last thing at night.
What are some different types of fitness trackers?
There are so many to choose from! Fitness tracker watches, fitness wristbands, smartwatches, pedometers—there is something for everyone’s needs and price range out there.
Your fitness tracker calculates how many calories you’ve burned by combining two things:
- how much you’ve been moving (steps) - The average number of steps you should take in a day is about 10,000. Of course, this will vary based on height, weight, and fitness level.
- The number of calories you’ve burned by your activity (i.e., running) - Most of them have features like alerts to remind you to stay active and idle reminders.
What are the benefits of fitness trackers?
They can be a great motivator for someone trying to get in shape or maintain their current workout routine because they’re harder to ignore than an app on your phone.
How can a fitness tracker help me?
Fitness trackers are one of the most helpful investments anyone could make in themselves! They provide motivation to achieve goals, teach someone what they need to do for their body type and also remind them when they need to move
Your Body Mass Index (BMI)
Your BMI is a value calculated from your height and weight that is used as a measure of body fat.
The most common definition of overweight or obese combines the individual's BMI with their waist circumference, dividing this number by either 40 inches (102 cm) for men, or 35 inches (88 cm) for women to give an index value:
Your tracker will help you see how your weight, BMI, and waist circumference are changing over time.
The Different Models
Let's take a look at the different models (in no particular order):
- Fitbit Charge - Brighten up your day with Charge. This advanced activity wristband has the ability to track important statistics like steps taken, distance traveled, calories burned, and active minutes. It also allows you to stay connected throughout the day through real-time fitness stats and Caller ID on its OLED display.
- Fitbit Inspire - Keep track of your progress with the Fitbit Inspire™. This fitness tracker automatically tracks workouts like walking, running, swimming, and biking by using SmartTrack® and gives you on-the-go access through the Fitbit app. The battery life lasts up to 5 days, so you can be energized all day long.
- Amazfit Bip - The Bip is lightweight and comfortable to wear. It also has an IP68 rating making it both water-resistant and dustproof. This wearable supports four sport modes i.e., indoor running, walking, outdoor running, and cycling.
- Garmin Vivosmart 4 -The Vivosmart 4 may be smaller than most smartwatches, but it is packed with features that can help monitor your physical health. The Vivosmart 4 is a compelling choice, boasting both a sleek design and long battery life.
- Fitbit Charge 3 - Still one of the best casual fitness trackers, but not suited for serious athletes. The Charge 3 is an affordable and long-lasting fitness tracker that can be worn while swimming. Key improvements include the larger touchscreen and added features, such as app notifications, weather forecasts, and stopwatch functionality.
- Huawei Band 3 Pro - The Band 3 Pro is a fitness tracker that is more suited for serious athletes, with its five-day battery life and waterproof construction.
- Apple Watch - The Apple Watch is the most expensive device on this list; however, it also has a lot of features to offer. With an in-built GPS system, water resistance up to 50 meters (165 feet).
- Garmin Vivosport - The Vivosport is a fitness band that also has smartwatch features that are lightweight and comfortable to wear. The battery life for the tracker lasts up to 8 days, making it easy to set goals and track progress. Available in two sizes, this Fitbit is fully waterproof and has built-in GPS. The downside Some of the features are a little difficult to access, which might frustrate some users. The GPS can take too long to lock-in.
- Xiaomi Mi Smart Band 6 - The Mi Band 6 is an excellent choice for those who are looking for a fitness tracker that can provide accurate heart rate and SpO2 readings from their wrist.
Drawbacks of using a fitness tracker
- Fitness trackers are not always accurate when it comes to measuring steps count. Steps are counted differently depending on the device and it can be difficult to determine if you're not getting an accurate count for each day.
- Some trackers can be quite expensive.
- Some fitness trackers, like the Fitbit Charge HR, don’t have a display. You can see your steps and heart rate on an OLED screen but you can't read any other information. This might be disappointing for some people who want to keep tabs on their day with one device.
- The battery life on some trackers can be unreliable. The Apple Watch Series One, for example, has a battery life of 18-hours and the Fitbit Charge HR can last up to five days on one charge.
- There are many fitness trackers that don't have GPS so you'll need to sync your data using their app later at home.
- Fitness tracking devices often don't work well with certain clothing styles like skirts and dresses because they need skin contact with your body to measure heart rate accurately.
- The Fitbit Charge HR and the Jawbone UP24 have a sleep tracking function. The Apple Watch has one too, but it isn't as reliable because users need to manually start their sleep-tracking mode before they go to bed.
- There are some drawbacks to wearing a fitness tracker - they can be uncomfortable for people with small wrists or who sweat heavily.
- You need to wear your tracker in the right spot, otherwise, it will not work.
Tips on Making Getting More Out of Your Tracker
Here are some tips to help with your workouts:
- The distance you walk doesn't matter, but the number of steps does. With a fitness tracker on your wrist, it is easy to see how many steps you have taken and when you need to increase or decrease them because the information is right in front of you all day.
- Wear it in the right spot. It's important to get accurate heart rate ratings while exercising.
- Try to set realistic goals. If your fitness tracker says you need to walk five miles, but you can barely make it one mile without taking a break, then maybe don't set that specific goal.
- Where possible, try to leave your fitness tracker on during the day. It will feel more like a part of you, and also won't get lost in your desk drawer or handbag while at work.
The best way to know if fitness trackers are worth it is to try them. If you're looking for a low-cost, easy solution or just want some motivation in your life and don't care about data accuracy, then wear one.
But if you need more accurate information from your tracker, these devices may not be the right investment for you.
Ask yourself what do I really need?
Do I just want something that has basic tracking capabilities (steps taken per day), or am I looking for an all-out monitoring system with heart rate monitor, food journaling options, etc?
There's no right or wrong answer.