Which Fitness Tracker Is Right For Me?
The wearable technology industry has grown to a point that it has spawned many brands of fitness trackers.
Many of these brands have the same features and are differentiated only by a few components.
However these fitness trackers and activity monitors share one goal: to help you become fitter and healthier.
But with the variety of wearables in the market, how do you find the best fitness tracker for you?
What Is A Fitness Tracker?
Fitness trackers are portable or wearable devices that track and measure the level of activity you do on a daily basis by monitoring your movement.
For many fitness trackers the main component is the accelerometer.
An accelerometer is made up of a counter – balance that is placed between two electrically charged plates.
At rest, the counter – balance is in the middle. But when you start moving, the counter – balance shifts right to left and records your activity.
The Advantages Of Using A Fitness Tracker
A fitness tracker can gather information not just on movement but also sleep patterns.
All data can be viewed online or on your smart phone. The information is displayed in graphics that are easy to understand.
The purpose of collecting these data is to give you a baseline for the level of activity you do every day.
This is the advantage of tracking daily activity: when you have information on how you function every day you will have an idea of the level of changes you need to make in order to make a difference in your health and fitness.
When you decide to invest in a fitness tracker, you have to keep it on for as long as you can.
The readings on your fitness tracker will only be as accurate as the frequency of data that you give it.
The more precise the data, the clearer the picture you have on your level of health and fitness.
Thus, another advantage of a fitness tracker is that it gives you real time results of your fitness program.
You have a basis for identifying progress and these are the numbers over and above your baseline.
With data it becomes easier to implement changes and improvements in your training.
There is hardly any guesswork or near estimation when you use a fitness tracker.
Finally, a fitness tracker is a great source of motivation. Not only will you be inspired by your progress but there are applications that allow you to link up with others in a community that share your advocacy.
They will find ways to motivate and inspire you during days you feel like abandoning your workouts or your diet.
Tips On Finding The Best Fitness Tracker For You
In addition to the accelerometer, another standard feature for your fitness tracker should be an altimeter which measures movement when you are climbing up stairs.
You would not want a fitness tracker to record a stair climb as smaller steps when it actually requires more energy exertion.
As for the other features, it would depend on the nature of the physical activities you wish to undertake, the goals you have set and of course, the demands of your lifestyle.
Here are other features you would find in a fitness tracker…
1. Tracking Capabilities
In addition to movement, fitness trackers also track other activities.
- Number Of Steps
- Heart Rate
Not all of these features are available in every fitness tracker in the market. For example, the Mio Fuse has a heart rate monitor but not a sleep tracker.
The Misfit Flash Link does not have a heart rate monitor but includes a sleep tracker.
The more features your fitness tracker has, the higher the price.
So you have to determine which features would play a more significant role in helping you achieve your health and fitness goals.
The best fitness tracker for you is one that you can readily access with your smart phone, desk top or other devices.
Here is a rundown of a few popular fitness trackers in the market and the level of compatibility of these devices:
- FitBit – PC, Mac, iOS, Windows Phone, Web
- Basis Peak – Android, iOS, Web
- Garmin Vivoactive – Windows, Mac, Android, iOS
- TomTom Spark Cardio + Music – Windows, Mac, Android, iOS
- Mio Alpha 2 – Android, iOS
Not all fitness trackers are worn on the wrist. Some can be placed inside your pocket or clipped unto an undergarment. Each style has its advantages and disadvantages.
With a clip on, you have the advantage of being inconspicuous but you can easily forget about it when you change clothes.
With a wrist worn fitness tracker, it can be bulky, uncomfortable when typing and some may not look fashionable but the chances of misplacing it are much less.
- Wrist – FitBit Surge, Basis Peak, Garmin Vivosmart
- Clip On – FitBit Zip, Jawbone Move Up!, Runtastic Orbit
Since you will be wearing a fitness tracker for 24 hours a day, it has to something that you are comfortable with and have no problem using.
Here are a few convenience points you should consider:
- Display – LED indicator lights, LCD screen, AMOLED screen
- Water Resistant, GPS – Perfect if you like outdoor activities
- Battery Life – The less you have to charge it, the better. Good brands include: Runtastic Orbit at 10 days, Mio Fuse at 7 days and MisFit Flash Link at 6 months.
You can never overlook pricing. A fitness tracker is an investment but it has to an asset that you can afford.
Here is a shortlist of prices of popular fitness trackers:
- MisFit Flash Link – AUS$ 25
- Mio Fuse – AUS$ 133
- FitBit Charge HR – AUS$ 160
- FitBit Surge – AUS$ 285
- TomTom Spark Cardio + Music – AUS$ 295
Having A Fitness Tracker That Fits You
The biggest benefit anyone can get from a fitness tracker is that it sets the direction of your health and fitness program.
It is true that nothing beats hard work and dedication to achieve success.
But when you have data as reference and a convenient way to track your progress, the path to accomplishing your health and fitness goals becomes clearer and easier to see.