If you’re looking for information on how fitness trackers work and how to buy a fitness tracker to suit your needs, you’ve come to the right page.
An estimated 35 million people in the US alone currently use a fitness activity tracker. This number is predicted to reach 75 million by the year 2021. The reason for their popularity is that fitness trackers provide an easy way of monitoring physical activity.
The array of models available these days means there are trackers for everyone from the seasoned athlete to people who are just beginning their fitness journey.
There are trackers for swimmers, walkers, runners, cyclists, and more. Along with monitoring your speed and distance covered, you can see how many calories you’ve burned, and you can track your heart rate and sleep quality. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg!
In this article, we will look at how to how to buy a fitness tracker to suit your needs. We will also discuss how fitness trackers work and we will cover the various features of a fitness tracker.
How Fitness Trackers Work
Fitness activity trackers are typically worn on the wrist. All have some basic features, including the ability to measure the number of steps you take. Some do far more than just track your movement. Many also monitor calorie input and output and sleep quality, among other things.
The device can be synced with a smartphone or directly to a computer to record and store your results. And you won’t have to take your phone or computer with you when you exercise. Most fitness trackers will save your activity details, with you only having to connect using your phone periodically.
How to Buy a Fitness Tracker You Will Use
It’s important to find out how to buy a fitness tracker that you will use. If you buy the wrong one, there will be no incentive for you to wear it.
Usually, the more features the tracker has, the more expensive it will be. It’s fun to have a tracker with all of the bells and whistles, but if you don’t use the features, you will be spending money unnecessarily. For example, if you don’t live near a beach or a pool you won’t need a swimming tracker. If you regularly climb steps or hike in the mountains, you will find a fitness tracker with an altimeter handy.
The best advice I can give you is to read about the features various models contain and read purchaser reviews. Amazon is a great resource for this. They sell a broad range of makes and models, and you can see that the customer’s purchase has been verified, so you know the review is genuine.
Following we will look at some of the main features of a fitness tracker that are worth having.
Fitness Activity Tracker Overview
Some features of a fitness tracker to look for
- Step counter
All fitness activity trackers have a step counter that counts how many steps you take. The accuracy of this feature will vary depending on whether you enter your exact height and weight or guess these. Inaccuracy will also result if your pace length varies significantly.
- Distance counter
The distance counter measures the distance you cover based on the number of steps you take. Again, this will not be entirely accurate if the length of your pace varies.
If accuracy is important to you, buy a fitness tracker with GPS capability.
Most fitness activity trackers have a 3-axis accelerometer that tracks steps and other movement, in every direction.
An altimeter measures height changes, making it useful for anyone who hikes or runs in hilly terrain. This feature is also handy for measuring steps climbed and distance when walking, running, or jogging.
- Calorie counter
The calorie counter tracks the number of steps you take, converting this into calories burned.
Fitness trackers for swimmers are often waterproof to a depth of 20 feet. Models for runners, joggers and other land-based activity will be sweat and splash-resistant.
Most fitness activity trackers have alarm features for timing fitness activities. Look for a model with a silent alarm that vibrates, this way you will be able to use it to wake up without disturbing anyone else who is nearby
- Sleep tracker
Some fitness activity trackers have a feature that enables you to track your movement as you sleep. The more restful your sleep is, the better quality it is. The more restless you are, the lower its quality.
- Heart rate monitor
A fitness activity tracker with a heart rate monitor will allow you to monitor your day-to-day activity. You will know if you are going too hard and fast or not putting in enough effort, and be able to change your pace or intensity accordingly.
- Food tracker
Some apps enable the user to record their daily food intake. The program will then keep a tab on how many calories you’ve consumed. Some can also recommend a daily calorie allowance based on your profile details and how much weight you want to lose over a particular length of time.
- IOS versatility
Some fitness trackers will only team with an Apple or certain Androids. Before you purchase, make sure the model you are thinking of buying is compatible with your smartphone.
- Bluetooth capacity
Before buying a fitness tracker, check that your smartphone has the Bluetooth version the activity tracker requires. If it doesn’t, the functions and features you can access will be limited.
- Customization options
Many fitness activity trackers are customizable to the wearer’s preference. Different colors and styles of band can be used with most models, and the clock face can often be changed.
- Fitness milestones
Some trackers have a built-in program that “rewards” the wearer by flashing a message on the screen when reaching a fitness milestone.
- Social media integration
If you need help staying motivated, or if you are exercising “virtually” with friends, a tracker that will post your goals and accomplishments to your social media accounts can be helpful. Along with keeping your friends up-to-date with your progress, this feature can encourage you to work out that bit harder. If this function is important to you, make sure the tracker you are thinking of buying is equipped to do this. Also, check that it is compatible with your favorite social media channels.
- Battery life
Battery life varies greatly between various makes and models, ranging from anywhere to a few days to one year or longer. Most fitness trackers are in the 5 to 7-day range, at which point you will need to recharge it via a USB port. If you buy a tracker with a one-year battery life, the battery will not usually be rechargeable, so you will have to buy a new one when it wears out.
How to Buy a Fitness Tracker Summary
Now you know the basics of how to buy a fitness tracker, it’s time to start researching models.