Technology! Isn’t it something we love becoming a slave of? It all started when phones became smarter and the advent of social media. These companies ensure that the notifications come our way and keep us hooked to our devices. What did that result into? Us becoming more sedentary than we were.
Then, these companies thought, “Alright! Now that we have successfully managed to keep the users glued to their seats, how about we introduce something to make them move?” Brilliant idea to make more money, right?! And that is what led to the birth of fitness bands.
Since their introduction, wearable fitness trackers have taken the fitness industry by storm. Everyone seems to be sporting one of these gadgets on their wrist or clipped to a belt. Companies market the wearables with clever use of techniques. Impressive graphics, testimonials and figures, graphs and data that appears to such the devices have been tested and reviewed.
For people who are looking for a competitive edge, this can be way too enticing to overlook as they don't want to be last to take advantage of the next great advancement in sport science but for most people fitness trackers end up being like gym memberships. When they're all shiny and new, people tend to think they're going to change their lives but later when the novelty wears off and reality bites. People realise that they haven't developed the body of their dreams and then they simply stop caring. We've know all about the stats that suggest many who buy a fitness wearable, stop using it within six months.
Many people who haven’t jumped on the fitness tracker bandwagon still wonder that are these gizmos worth the money? Let's take a look at how these wearables work and can help you achieve your fitness goals.
Every fitness tracker has an accelerometer that can count the number of steps you take as well as measure your movements from side to side or up and down. More expensive trackers can use a gyroscope, to figure out whether you’re sitting, standing, or lying down. Some fitness trackers use your heart rate to estimate how many calories you’ve burned during the day. A few also come with an app that lets you record how many calories you consume. That way, you can track calories consumed against calories burned to help with weight loss.
Although these devices do a good job of tracking steps, they’re not so great at measuring other things. They tend to underestimate the distance you’ve traveled when you’re going fast, and they overestimate when you’re moving slowly. Their measurements of overall activity level are iffy. They overestimate total sleep time, and their figures for the number of calories burned can be either high or low. So if you rely on one of these devices as your only guide, you could end up with a skewed view of your overall fitness.
Many fitness trackers contain a heart rate monitor to measure your pulse, both during exercise and while at rest. Some can also detect your skin temperature and level of perspiration. They combine this data with your pulse rate to figure out just how hard you’re working out. They can supposedly track how well you’re sleeping. They detect motion while you’re lying down to figure out when you’re awake, lightly asleep, or in deep sleep. However, this function doesn’t work all that well. The devices often claim that you’ve slept either more or fewer hours than you really did.
For many people, exercise is more rewarding when they can see numbers in black and white telling them how well they’re doing. They get more excited about hitting a specific target, like 10,000 steps per day, than about the vague goal of being healthier. Fitness trackers are designed to encourage this kind of thinking. They send messages to cheer you on when you meet a goal, giving you an ego boost. Plus, you can share the messages with your friends to let them know how active you’re being. On the flip side, many people who buy fitness devices lose interest in them after a while. A market study found that about one in three users stops wearing the device within six months of buying it.
If any of the numbers aren't what you’d like it to be, you can take steps to improve it and the fitness tracker can help you see how the numbers change over time. This can help you figure out which strategies work or don’t work for you. If you’re trying to lose weight, a fitness tracker can show you when your heart rate is in the ideal zone for exercise. This can help you get the most benefit out of your workouts. If you’re a serious athlete, a fitness tracker can track your speed and distance travelled, so you can see how well your training regimen is working.
A fitness tracker isn’t the only tool you can use to monitor your exercise. There are other options that cost less and can do some, though not all, of what a fitness tracker does. Depending on what you want to measure, one of these cheaper tools could serve you just as well or better. If all you want to do is count your steps, you can do that better with a simple pedometer app that costs nothing at all. But if you want to track all aspects of your health – activity, sleep, heart rate, and so on – then a fitness tracker is the only tool that can do it all. Also If your main sport is walking, running, or cycling, you’re probably better off trying a smartphone app first. With many fitness trackers, you need to carry your phone anyway to use all the features, so you might as well see if an app alone can do the job. But if you play a sport that makes it hard to carry a phone, a wearable is a better bet. And if swimming is your main sport, you’ll need to make sure you choose one of the few fitness bands that work in the pool.Do You Carry Your Phone Everywhere? If you do, then an app could be a better bet than a basic fitness tracker. It’s cheaper, and it doesn’t require you to carry an extra device. Even if you want the extra features of a fitness tracker, you can get by with a cheaper one that pairs with your phone to give you your results. But if you don’t carry a phone all the time, you’ll need to pay more for a high-end tracker that contains its own display.
The real bottom line is unless you need to-the-step accuracy, your smartphone's built-in capacity to measure steps with a free app should be enough for fitness tracking.
Contributed by: Nav