Fitness trackers are so popular most people don't think twice when they see someone wearing them. In addition to tracking workouts, fitness trackers can count steps, gauge sleep quality, track calorie intake, and a lot more.
With all of the options and possibilities, it's easy to feel overwhelmed. Are fitness trackers just a fad, or do they provide legitimate health benefits?
The most significant obstacle many people face when it comes to a healthy diet or regular exercise program is motivation. Using a fitness tracker provides a daily reminder of your goals and a way to tell at a glance if you met them.
Some fitness trackers have gamification components. Many people find that creating challenges and seeking to meet or surpass daily or weekly goals with friendly virtual competition or notification pushes provides powerful motivation.
Gone are the days when counting calories involved a notebook and it was standard to measure a route in a vehicle before setting out on a run. Apps provided a step up in record-keeping, and fitness trackers take it further still.
With a fitness tracker, calories, workouts, daily activity, sleep patterns, heart rate, and more are measured easily, and in many cases automatically.
Some people enjoy having all types of data at their fingertips. A fitness tracker provides general information, like heart rate during exercise and steps taken, but it can also provide much more.
For data-driven folks, the ability to compare sleep patterns with how workouts felt the following day, how quickly their heart rate returned to its resting average after exercise, and many other stats makes fitness trackers a fascinating tool.
Setting goals is easy, reaching them is the challenge. Using a fitness tracker provides an unbiased assessment of your actual lifestyle. It is easy to think your activity level is high just because you exercise daily, but if you work at a desk job, you probably still have a fairly sedentary lifestyle.
Seeing actual activity levels over the course of a week or so gives you an accurate idea of where you need to make improvements.
Fitness trackers allow you to track activity, sleep quality, heart rate, and even diet. They can distinguish between steps taken and targeted exercise. They can be programmed to remind you to get up and walk for a few minutes, stretch, drink a glass of water, and more.
All of this from a device that fits on your wrist.
Whether you are trying to lose five pounds or run a faster 5K, a fitness tracker can help. Trackers allow you to see at a glance how your weight has changed over time, how fast and far you run, and how many workouts you have completed. No need to flip through a paper calendar to track progress or see what your next workout involves.
Even those who mostly keep their fitness journies to themselves might enjoy a little affirmation. Fitness trackers make it easy to share your information in several different ways. You can share with friends through social media, or you can use fitness apps to join communities with others who share your goals. These groups often provide leaderboards, offer challenges, and allow commenting and kudos on other posts.
Don't assume that fitness trackers are only for serious athletes. Whether you are training for a specific event or just want to include more activity in your day, you may benefit from a fitness tracker.
For all of the features these trackers offer, they are intuitive to use and it is easy to disregard features that don't interest you.
Fitness trackers can be a significant investment. In a time when smartphones provide many of the features included on fitness trackers, it may be hard to justify spending money on a separate device.
Fitness trackers provide plenty of benefits and allow you to workout without carrying your phone. If you are on the fence, however, you may want to download some tracking apps to your phone and see how you like them. If you find you enjoy tracking, you may find it easier to talk yourself into the purchase, or you might decide what your phone has to offer is good enough for your needs.
Fitness trackers are not always accurate when measuring distance, elevation, and speed. They are generally close, but they do depend on a combination of GPS and a built-in accelerometer for many of their tracking features. Plus, different brands and versions offer varying reliability.
Challenges in connecting to the closest GPS satellites or not syncing up the app correctly when you purchase it can affect accuracy. For most people, the discrepancy is insignificant, but for those using the tracker for speed workouts or other programs where distance and speed accuracy is important, it can be frustrating. It is also important to compare the watch's heart rate measurements with a radial pulse measurement to ensure these readings are not misleading.
This site offers information designed for educational purposes only. You should not rely on any information on this site as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, treatment, or as a substitute for, professional counseling care, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other healthcare professional.