What You Need To Know About Fitness Watches
For years, Dick Tracy’s “Two Way Wrist Watch Radio” became a symbol; albeit slightly comical, of what the future of technology held for humankind.
But as digital technology evolved, so did the functionality of the conventional wrist watch. It was no longer just a device used to tell time.
It morphed with the ability to calculate, measure speed and now to track fitness.
Fitness watches are now with us which means it’s time to ramp up your training!
What Is A Fitness Watch?
The fitness watch is a natural evolution of the fitness wearable; devices that you attach to your wrist or clothing for the purpose of measuring, tracking and calculating activities related to a health and fitness program.
The fitness watch itself has evolved from clunky design to a sleeker, more streamlined and fashionable look.
The evolution of the fitness watch is a response to the increasing demand for fitness wearables.
It is estimated that the fitness wearable industry will grow at a compound annual rate of 35% from 2015 to 2020.
Sales are expected to grow from 33 million units in 2015 to 148 million units in 2019.
The smart watch will be the number one selling wearable accounting for an estimated 41% of market share over the next five years.
By 2019, the smart watch will cover 70% of global shipments.
History Of The Fitness Watch
All fitness wearables can trace its origin to 2006 when Nike and Apple collaborated with Nike + iPod Sports Kit.
This was truly the first product which incorporated technology with fitness apparel in an effort to collect activity data.
Technology companies were apparently aware that the health and fitness industry was a global phenomenon and wanted to find ways to capitalise on its opportunities.
The global health and fitness industry generates more than US$75 Billion a year in revenue.
The United States is the largest market and accounts for US$ 22 Billion of the global health and fitness industry.
It is estimated there are 130 million people worldwide who are members of a health and fitness centre.
It wasn’t long before 2011’s FitBit evolved into fitness wrist wearables such as Jawbone UP! and Nike FuelBand.
Then in 2012, Sony introduced its smart watch which blew open doors for other brands such as Pebble, Samsung, Motorola and LG.
Of course as we now know, Apple put the smart watch into the consciousness of the mainstream market in April 2015.
Everything Apple did was a media event and the Apple Watch was no exception. This was a time piece that did more than just tell time.
It could manage the most important aspects of your day including the most mundane activities.
And it could help track your fitness. Who would have thought that there would be a time that we would need a device to tell us we were sitting down too long?
How Do Fitness Watches Work?
From 2012 to 2015, fitness wearables were treading the line between functional wristwatches and fitness trackers.
The models that were being introduced in the market did more than just tell time.
The fitness watches could measure distance, speed, stride length. They had features that could calculate caloric intake and prepare a diet plan based on your fitness goals.
Some models could detect your type of activity and create workout programs accordingly.
These fitness watches vary in terms of design and function. Some have an accelerometer which records motion through an integrated counter- balance that shifts whenever it detects movement.
Some have to be connected with a smart phone where data can be uploaded and stored.
There are two important reminders when using fitness watches. First, you have to use them every day. Second, you have to be honest and consistent with the data that you input.
The purpose of the fitness watch is to collect data so you can develop a baseline for your physical activity.
Having this baseline gives you a definite reference point as to how you are progressing in your health and fitness program.
Why Should I Use A Fitness Watch?
The term “Fitness” has myriad definitions. For Apple, it means being “active throughout the day”.
Jawbone views fitness as a way to achieve “a better version of you”. For Microsoft, fitness means having “improved wellness”.
Obviously, these definitions read more like marketing copy to sell their products.
The truth is there is no single, universal definition of fitness. The idea of fitness will vary from one person to the other.
A basketball player may not even finish a marathon but by the same token, a marathon runner may find himself lost or benched in a basketball game.
Thus, before you purchase a fitness watch you should define what fitness is for you.
As mentioned, these fitness watches are differentiated by their functionality.
Select the brand and model with the features that would support your fitness goals. At its most basic, these fitness watches can already ramp up your training.
Most fitness trainers believe diet and nutrition is the hardest aspect of a health and fitness program.
It requires mental and emotional fortitude to remain true to your diet plan. Keeping track of what you eat on a daily basis will help you stay focused on your nutrition program.
Having ready access to your current level of activity will encourage you to move more in order to achieve a daily fitness goal.
For example, the Center for Disease Control recommends 10,000 steps a day as the guideline for health and fitness.
You can use this as your baseline number every day and the fitness watch will advise you on how close you are to accomplishing this goal.
What Are The Best Fitness Watches In The Market?
Motorola MotoActv – Generally regarded as the most user- friendly fitness watches in the market today. The Motorola MotoActv is part trainer and part music player. It provides workout programs for than 40 types of physical activity.
Polar RCX3 – Slim – styled provides valuable speed and heart rate data for runners and cyclists. It also gives post- training feedback.
Garmin Forerunner 910XT – Unlike the Polar RCX3, the Garmin Forerunner 910XT also provides speed and heart rate data for swimmers plus information on the number of strokes and distance.
Timex Ironman Run Trainer GPS – Designed for hardcore runners and cyclists, the Timex Ironman Run Trainer GPS is a great choice for those who favour interval training as it covers a wide range of parameters. It also has a nutrition alarm which goes off to remind the user it is time to rehydrate and eat.
Suunto Ambit – This is ideal for the high- altitude and outdoor trainer. The Suunto Ambit is waterproof and comes with a GPS, accelerometer, 3D compass and altimeter. It has a 50- hour battery life and recovery time calculator.
As Apple Founder the late Steve Jobs once said, “Pricing does not equate to quality”.
You cannot possibly maximise the value of a US$500 fitness watch like the Suunto Ambit if you do not spend time outdoors or training in altitude.
There is a fitness watch for everyone. You just have to make sure of your goals and objectives when it comes to fitness.