How do fitness trackers work?
At their most basic, fitness trackers work by measuring your activity. You get to see how much exercise you do in a day, the number of calories you burn and whether you’re getting enough sleep.
Many trackers have extra features to give you a more accurate picture of your health:
- Accelerometer sensors record the types of movements you make and the amount of time you’re active
- Heart rate monitors show how hard you’re working when you exercise
- GPS tracks your route, distance and speed for all of your outdoor activities
So, what does all the different data mean exactly, and how can it help you to measure and improve your fitness?
Record daily steps and activity
Knowing how many steps you take throughout a day is a great place to start when it comes to improving your overall health.
Apps like Fitbit work with your tracker to break down all the data and present it in a way that makes sense. A dashboard displays graphs and charts, mapping your stats to show your progress over days, weeks and months.
The Fitbit Ionic is a great example of a watch that lets you check all of your stats at a glance with its easy to read touch screen. It syncs with the Fitbit app too, giving you even more detail about your workouts.
This nifty gadget does more than just track your vital statistics. You can log your running routes via in-built GPS, pay for things on the go with Fitbit Pay and even play music directly from this clever smartwatch.
Get a training partner, pacemaker and coach all in one
If you’re serious about fitness and can’t get enough of all those stats, charts and graphs, the Garmin Fenix 5 is right up there at the head of the pack.
The Fenix 5 has it all. Accurate GPS positioning to track your routes, barometer and thermometer so you’re prepared for any heavy downpour, a compass to keep you on the right track and a heart rate monitor.
All of this data syncs with the Garmin Connect app. View all of your performance and health stats, create and join challenges with friends and customise your watch features all through the app.
Stay on top of your calorie intake
Maintaining a healthy weight comes down to the number of calories we take in versus the amount we burn. And using a fitness tracker is a really easy way to track how many calories you’ve burned in a day, because all you have to do is wear it.
It can also be paired with calorie-counting apps like MyFitnessPal – just log your calorie intake and the app tells you if your activity has offset your calories for the day.
Get enough sleep
The NHS says most adults need around eight hours of sleep a night. Fitness trackers can help you get an idea of how much rest you’re getting and set targets to increase it if necessary.
It isn’t just the amount of sleep that’s important. You might think you’re getting a good eight hours, but a bad night’s sleep can be worse than a few hours of quality sleep.
With built-in sleep tracking, the Fitbit Alta HR monitors your sleep and wirelessly syncs the information to your dashboard. Set goals to improve the amount and quality of sleep you get, and program it to gently wake you with a silent vibrating alarm.
Get a full picture of your health
Health data isn’t just about tracking your movements, there are lots of other ways you can monitor your health with the latest smart tech. The Fitbit Aria 2 Smart Scale is a great example.
The Smart Scale syncs with the Fitbit app and lets you see more than just weight – it also tracks your body mass index (BMI) and body fat percentage.
More than one of you keeping an eye on your health? Then Garmin’s Index Smart Scale is a great option, recognising up to 16 people.
The Index Smart Scale uses the Garmin Connect app (available on iOS, Android and Windows) to record in-depth health metrics – helping you to keep an eye on your fitness goals.
Now you’ve made sense of the data, see our full range of smart watches and fitness trackers.
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