Quick Buyer’s Guide for Smart Watches & Fitness Trackers
You’ve probably seen those fancy digital bracelets and little clip-on tech devices all over the place, from the gym to the grocery store and everywhere else. But if you’ve never used an activity tracker, you may be wondering exactly how they work, and what the differences are between all the different styles and types. With so many makes and models to choose from, it can be quite a daunting experience to choose the right one for what you need.
In this article, we’re going to run down all the essential info that you need to know to understand more about activity and fitness trackers, and how to choose the right one for your lifestyle and preferred types of physical activities. Let’s start by taking a quick look in to the technology that allows these types of activity and fitness trackers to work.
How Do Activity Trackers Work?
There’s a lot of technology packed in to such a small device, but that’s what is needed in order to accurately track your movements and actions. When it comes to the inner workings of a fitness tracker, it’s all about the sensors. There are several different types of sensors used in activity trackers, and the more advanced ones will have multiple sensors all working together to gather and transmit a wide range of different data points.
The most essential sensor in a fitness tracker is known as an accelerometer. These sensors are engineered to measure movement speed and movement direction. The accelerometer gathers data such as how fast you move, the pattern and intensity of your movements, and how long each movement lasts.
Another type of sensor commonly used in activity and fitness trackers is a gyroscope. These sensors differ from accelerometers as they are designed to measure the orientation of the device as well as rotation movements. Gyroscopes are particularly useful in measuring certain types of fluid motions such as tennis or golf swings, or other aspects of your movement that require an additional layer of analysis beyond what can be gauged with an accelerometer alone.
Some activity trackers also include a built-in GPS to track precise location and travel routes, which are particularly useful for runners and cyclists who don’t wish to carry any extra or unnecessary equipment on their adventures.
Of course, the data gathered by these sensors isn’t much use if you can’t transmit it to a device capable of analyzing the information. That’s why activity trackers will also have built-in transfer technology to download the information to other devices such as mobile devices and laptops.
While this can easily be done by a physical connection like a USB cable, most modern activity trackers use some form of wireless technology, such as Bluetooth, to automatically send the data seamlessly to the Cloud or directly to your device.
Different Styles of Activity Tracker
There are several different styles and types of activity and fitness trackers to choose from, each with their own set of advantages that make them better suited to certain types of activities or to fit with the individual preferences of the user.
The most basic type of activity tracker is the small, clip-on style. These are very minimal in form and offer the most compact solution for tracking movements. Clip-on activity trackers have a built-in hook or fastener so that they may be easily attached to the users clothing or shoes.
Activity and fitness trackers are also available in styles to be worn on the wrist. This style of tracker tends to offer more options in terms of appearance and style, as well as more functions and capability due to their larger form factor. Most people opt for this style of activity tracker since they are convenient and comfortable to wear and offer greater usability.
Essential Features & Functions
Virtually all types of activity trackers will gather a similar set of basic data points. These include things like speed, distance, and duration. Many also include additional details such as number of steps taken and estimated calories burned. Think about the types of activity you want to track, and what you intend to use the information for before you buy. If you’re using the tracker as part of your weight loss regimen, you will likely want more features than a simple step counter can offer.
Water resistance is a nice feature to look for, even if you’re not intending to use it for swimming or other watersports, as you never know when you’ll get caught in an unexpected rain shower. Having protection against water offers some nice peace of mind that your activity tracker won’t get damaged by an accidental splash.
Battery life should be considered as well, since your activity tracker isn’t much good if the batter dies. Most activity trackers have long battery life, and if you remember to charge them at night every day, you should never have to worry about running out of power.
Popular Brands & Top-Rated Trackers
This excellent little tracker has tons of great features packed in to a very compact design. It’s simple use of LEDs on the face of the tracker gives you at-a-glance progress updates, and its sleek minimalist design is available in many different colour options. The Misfit Shine 2 can be worn on the wrist or removed from its strap and clipped on to your clothing using the included clasp. If you’re looking for a simple tracker that has great fashion appeal, this is a fantastic choice.
This next one comes from one of the leading names in GPS electronics, so you can be sure it will be loaded with advanced features and top-of-the-line technology. The Garmin Vivosport activity tracker is designed with runners in mind, but offers so much capability you’ll find that it’s perfect for monitoring every move you make all day long. The Garmin Vivosport includes built-in GPS, heart rate tracking, and a beautiful digital display all in a comfortable and lightweight wrist band.
Fitbit is one of the most popular and well-known brands of fitness tracker, and it’s easy to see why. They’ve got lots of features and cool style, and their latest design adds even more capabilities for you to benefit from. The Fitbit Charge 3 has an elegant strap and digital display, is water resistant to 50m, has a 7-day battery life, and will track everything from your heart rate to your sleep patterns, and more.
Get Moving & Feel Better
Fitness trackers are extremely useful tools as part of the low carb lifestyle. Managing your dietary intake is critically important, but equally important is making sure that you’re getting enough exercise throughout your day to help maintain a healthy body and improve your overall feeling of well-being.
We certainly hope that you’ve found this article helpful in your search for an activity tracker, and that you use it to help boost your fitness regime to reach a new level of health and vitality.