Find a Fitness Accountability Partner That Never Fails
Thanks to the increasing popularity of fitness shows like The Biggest Loser, and fitness celebrities such as Kayla Itsines and Rhonda Rousey, it is now hip and cool to be fit. And what is more important than simply being fit? Owning and flaunting the latest in the fitness fashion. The latest craze to hit the fitness industry are the fitness trackers and new technology means that they do so much more than just count steps. Here is our review of some of the activity trackers for fitness in the market.
Best Activity Trackers for Fitness
- Fitbit Charge HR Wireless Activity Wristband
- Fitbit Flex Wireless Activity
- Garmin vívofit Fitness Band
- Fitbit Charge Wireless Activity Wristband
- Fitbit Surge Fitness Superwatch
- Fitbit Alta Fitness Tracker
- Fitbit Blaze Smart Fitness Watch
- ELEGIANT Wireless Fitness Pedometer Tracker
- Polar M400 GPS Smart Sports Watch
- Are they waterproof?
Fitness Trackers Buying Guide
Activity trackers for fitness have exploded in popularity since they were first introduced and you would be hard pressed finding someone who is serious about fitness and health that does not have one. They are simply a bracelet which sometimes doubles as a watch, which tracks how much you move and some even tell you when you have been inactive for too long.
It is like having a fashionable personal trainer attached to your wrist. They actually are quite an intelligent and complex item so even though the different ones on the market may seem similar, the features and functionalities will differ. They are unisex and can be used by all sexes of all ages – anyone can benefit from one of the most popular fitness trackers on the market.
Although the idea of all fitness trackers are fundamentally the same, there is still quite a difference between the brands, and the price can vary by hundreds of dollars. Fitness trackers are basically a small machine, and like any machine, they have different grades and ranges, all with different features and different uses, targeted at slightly different markets. It is definitely true that no two fitness trackers are made the same. So if you are considering investing in a tracker and are not sure where to start, then below are the main considerations to help make the decision a little bit easier.
Price vs functionality
All fitness trackers may have a similar style to one another (they will look like something between a watch and a bracelet), however one look in any shop that sells them will tell you that there is a major difference between many of them. The price will be the main obvious variation. Fitness trackers can range anywhere between $30 and $300 and so you will need to do a trade-off between what you are willing to pay and what features you need. You definitely get what you pay for when it comes to something like a fitness tracker, however there are many almost useless features attached to some which drive the price up – such as being able to tell the time and alerting you when you have been inactive after a period of time. If you have never worn a watch previously, do you really need to spend an extra $50 for the ability to suddenly be able to tell the time on a whim? And some will require constant almost weekly charging, so if you are willing to take it off to charge it, you can save yourself quite a lot of money.
The common saying is that if you have not posted about exercising, does it still count? Luckily for you, many of the good fitness trackers will automatically sync to your social media profile of choice, so it is impossible to post about how many calories were burned, or how many miles were run. You may not think that having your tracker connected to your social media accounts is a real benefit, but you will be surprised just how much harder you will work out if you feel the internet is judging you on it! Read the specifications to see just how easy it is to connect to your social profiles, and whether there is a privacy setting so you can choose whether you want the final result to be made public or not.
There are also fitness trackers that act as a smart watch and have the ability to answer your phone, view messages and even control music playlists, all without having to take your phone out of your pocket or bag. This is a feature that you may not think you need, but once you have it, you will not be able to imagine life without it. Most fitness trackers will sync to your Smartphone in some way (usually via Bluetooth), however the functionalities and control it gives will vary between brands.
Find the right fit
Fitness trackers are marketed across the genders and ages and it may not easy to find a one-size fits all solution. Some trackers will be designed for larger wrists, and some will suit smaller, skinnier wrists. The rule is to make sure that the main part of the band is not wider than your wrist. It helps to be able to try one on to see for yourself. Since you cannot wear fitness trackers that will not fit your wrists, it will be a waste of money buying one. Take time to determine the right size that will be most suitable for your wrists.
The trackers that double as watches will be chunkier, and may be heavy and uncomfortable for women with smaller wrists. On the other hand, some women may love the feel of a larger tracker, so it really is more of a case of personal preference. The tracker needs to be fairly tight and conformed to your skin, especially if it has an inbuilt heart rate monitor, so if it is sitting loosely and dangling like a bracelet, then chances are that it will not work properly for you.
What features should I look for in a fitness tracker?
Each fitness tracker will have different features. When shopping for your fitness trackers, some of the areas that you should focus on include the following:-
- Step counter – counts the steps that you make in a given day. Good counters will take your age, gender, height and weight into consideration.
- Distance Counter – More accurate than the step counter (as it cannot account for smaller or longer strides), the distance counter will use GPS tracking to show you exactly how far you have walked in a given day. Some will even show you on a map so you can see exactly where you have been
- Altimeter – A fairly new feature and only present in the high end trackers, the altimeter will recognize changes in altitude so it can account for the extra effort to climb up hills or stairs. Makes for a more accurate report on calories burned.
- Calorie Counter – Used in conjunction with the step counter, distance counter and altimeter – it basically calculated how many calories you have burned on any given day. The good ones will let you enter profile data so it will take your weight and age into account.
- Food Counter – Not as common because it involves manual entering of data, but some of the better fitness trackers will allow you to enter what foods you have eaten so you can get a report at the end of a day or given period of time as to how much you have consumed. Basing this against calories burned in exercise will give you an indication of your overall fitness.
- Sleep Tracker – One of the most commonly requested features on the fitness tracker, and some people purely buy one for this reason. Keep it on your wrist as you sleep and it will give you an idea of the quality of sleep you get. Basically the more active you are during the night, the less quality of sleep you will be getting. Some have an in-built alarm which will gently wake the wearer up in the morning.
Are they waterproof?
Not all fitness trackers are going to be waterproof. Some may be water resistant, so can be worn in the rain or even in the shower for short periods of time, but if you want to be able to go swimming and track your fitness in the pool, then you will need to make sure that you purchase a suitable tracker. Some of the better fitness trackers will actually be able to monitor your strokes in the pool and track your speed and distance swum, but make sure that the tracker you choose is designed for this. Because of the nature of the water, it is unlikely that a basic tracker will be able to properly monitor heart rate while in the pool, however it will still be able to tell you your starting heart rate (before you got in the pool) and finishing heart rate (once you have dried off).
It is never advised to take your fitness tracker diving or swimming in deep water as the pressure will likely damage it. Check the specifications on the packaging to see just what water based activities it will be able to withstand.
What is the mode of charging?
Different fitness trackers will have different battery lives and different batteries but will generally all need to be charged at some point and will be done via USB. Simply take the tracker off your wrist and connect to your computer via its USB cable and leave connected as it charges. On average a tracker should last between one to two weeks on a single charge, so at least you know you will not need to constantly take it off to charge it. Some trackers have a clear battery indicator on the screen so will alert you when the battery is low, some do not have any screen at all so the only way to see what level the battery is at is to connect it to your computer and log on. There are some trackers out there that can last a year or more on a single charge (such as the Garmin Vívofit Fitness Band), so if this is important to you, then invest in this one or one similar.
There are some fitness trackers however that actually need the battery replaced completely, however these batteries will last longer – up to 6 months on a single battery. These are not as common as they will require the constant purchase of replacement batteries, however they are out there.
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