How Fitness Wearables Can Improve Your Health And Fitness Program
Technology in fitness is nothing new. Scientists have always tried to find ways to use technology to improve performance.
From shoes to apparel, companies have been investing in technology over the last few decades to manufacture products that could improve performance.
So when technology created fitness wearables for everyday people we knew it was a perfect match.
The Merging Of Technology And Fitness
Technology has always been involved in sports. Athletes are always looking for an advantage over their competition and the battle is not always won on the training grounds.
Talent, physical ability and hard work can only take you so far. In the 1980’s the idea of using a suit for swimming was far-fetched.
Then scientists in the 2000 Sydney Olympics introduced a suit that reduced water drag and broke world records.
While only a select few can make it to the Olympic Games, it hasn’t stopped the everyday fitness enthusiast to find ways and means to improve his or her performance or level of fitness.
Companies recognise this and have manufactured fitness wearables on a commercial level.
Go to any sporting goods store and you will find compression apparel to improve circulation, shirts that leave your body dry and socks that collect data on your running stride.
Ever since Steve Jobs and Apple showed the world what smart phone technology could do in 2010, people have grown increasingly dependent on mobile devices to manage their everyday needs.
It didn’t take long for companies to find a market for fitness wearables like bands and watches which gave the user access to data and information to support their health and fitness programs.
What Are The Different Types Of Fitness Wearables?
Fitness wearables are devices that are primarily designed to collect data on movement.
There are fitness wearables that are worn on the body and some are attached on your clothes.
They are alternatively referred to as fitness trackers because the purpose of collecting data is to establish a baseline so you can track your fitness progress.
Most fitness trackers are worn on the wrist as a fitness band or a fitness watch.
Both have features for measuring the duration and intensity of movement, recording food intake and calculating programs for diet and workouts.
Some products are differentiated by additional features such as GPS, heart rate monitor, activity tracker and waterproofing.
Some fitness watches function as a smart watch. Not only can these track your fitness numbers but it can inform you of incoming mail, calendar appointments and send out messages.
Then you have wearable technology such as the Sensoria Smart Sock which collects data on your running stride and cadence.
This is valuable for avid runners who want to improve their time as well as avoid injury.
How Do These Fitness Wearables Work?
Fitness wearables vary in the type of technology they use.
The most popular type of technology involves an accelerometer which measures movement through the use of electrically charged plates.
An accelerometer includes a counter- balance which moves whenever there is physical activity.
If the user is at rest, the counter- balance is in the middle. But when the user starts moving, the counter- balance starts tracking and recording data.
The differences in technology mean each type of fitness wearable you use will give you a different reading.
In addition to technology, each product has its own algorithm. A Nike FuelBand will give you a different total of your daily number of steps compared to a FitBit.
Thus, we cannot state that fitness wearables are accurate since the readings will be different.
Also, some of these fitness trackers can be triggered by unintentional movement.
If you place your hand inside your pants pocket while sitting on your chair, some fitness trackers may record that as movement.
Why Should You Use Wearables?
Despite these short- comings, should you still use fitness wearables? The answer is “Yes”.
There are many benefits to using fitness wearables:
Track Progress – Many people abandon their quest to have better fitness because they do not have an idea if they are progressing.
When you have a baseline, you can keep track of how you are doing in your health and fitness program.
You can easily access data to determine how your level of fitness is improving.
Monitor Diet – Another reason why people quit their health and fitness program is because they get easily discouraged. One of the biggest culprits is the digital scale. People place too much value on number that appears on the digital scale.
The bottom line is that your health is contingent on what you eat and not what you weigh. A fitness tracker can help you record your calorie count so you can make sure you are getting the right macro nutrients in your diet.
Minimise Injury – Data collected by fitness wearables are important to assess whether you are doing too much. Yes, exercise can be unhealthy if you are pushing yourself past a threshold your body cannot take.
If you are not recovering fast enough, your running times are getting slower and you have less appetite despite greater activity, these are signs of over-training. It would be time to slow down or take a break.
Stay Motivated – When you see your performance improving or that you are able to maintain a strict diet and lose weight accordingly, these are powerful ways to stay motivated. Exercise itself is not easy.
It can wear you down physically, emotionally and mentally. Having these positive figures for reference will make it easier to remain motivated.
What Are The Best Fitness Wearables In The Market?
Microsoft Band 2 – The new Microsoft Band 2 fitness tracker comes with these features: optical heart rate monitor, an on-board GPS and barometer for improved geo-tracking, 3-axis accelerometer/gyro, gyrometer, a skin temperature sensor, a UV sensor, a galvanic skin response sensor.
FitBit Alta – This looks more like the traditional wrist band but includes a host of features: all day activity tracker, automatic sleep tracking, reminders to move, automatic exercise recognition and call, text alerts.
Garmin Forerunner 225 – It has accurate GPS tracker which is important for runners, a wrist- based heart rate monitor and it can track steps as well as calories.
FitBit Charge HR – This fitness tracker includes continuous heart rate tracking and works with Windows, iPhone and Android phones. It has a 5- day battery life.
Casio Smart Outdoor Watch – Who doesn’t want a watch that was built according to military standards? This watch has a built- in microphone and is water resistant for up to 50 meters.
It comes with a pressure sensor and a compass which makes it the perfect wearable for the person who prefers outdoor fitness.
There are other fitness wearables in the market that will suit your purpose and meet your budget.
Buy one and see your health and fitness program improve to the next level.