Fitness apps and tracker device and apps doesn’t need to be costly. In truth, it might only cost around a few bucks or so in some circumstances. This ought to be a nice investment although as it can maintain your well being and fitness on the forefront and help you to learn much more about fitness training as you go along.
This post is your information to selecting the right fitness tracker that might be helpful on your running and marathon training.
What is a Fitness Tracker and What Could and Cannot Do?
An excellent place to begin is by asking what a fitness tracker is, what it does and what you need to be in search of if you choose one.
To summarise then, a fitness tracker is any device that you simply put on in your body and it tracks some aspect of your fitness. To classify as a fitness tracker although, the system in all probability must have a couple of function, or a ‘smart element’ comparable to the ability to sync with a smartphone or add information to the cloud. Many fitness trackers additionally provide a display screen, which makes it simpler so that you can entry the knowledge and to make use of the machine in different methods – although some you work together with solely by an app.
Most fitness trackers are worn on the wrist like a watch/bracelet, although there’s a fair quantity of variation right here too. Some gadgets like the unique Fitbit are as a substitute worn on the belt. There are additionally another fascinating fashions within the works, which embrace one (referred to as ‘Jabra’) that you simply put on contained in the ears.
The most simple perform that just about each fitness tracker on the market presents then is a pedometer. Take your common pedometer, give it a cell app and you’ve got your primary fitness tracker.
Most then use their in-built app to be able to calculate different fascinating information about you. In order to watch steps, a pedometer wants to have the ability to measure movement and that signifies that it will probably roughly calculate your energy burned primarily based in your exercise (so long as you give it some primary data if you first set it up).
On top of the fundamental pedometer functionality, most trackers will include a gyroscope and accelerometer to be able to measure extra details about your movement. With a wise algorithm, a tracker can then deduce which actions you’re engaged in and acknowledge in the event you’re swimming or in the event you’re biking or running. More typically, this expertise is used to measure if you’re sleeping – and the way a lot you move throughout the night time. This then permits for some primary sleep monitoring with the intention to see how a lot deep sleep you’re getting and the way you would possibly enhance to be able to really feel extra refreshed every morning.
From there, you then begin to get somewhat extra superior with further sensors. Galvanic skin response (GSR) is used to watch whether or not or not a band is being worn. Another characteristic which is turning into extra frequent is coronary heart rate monitoring. Heart rate monitoring was once achievable only with a chest strap (the preferred commercial option being these from Polar). Today although, heartrate monitoring is feasible by wrist-worn devices utilizing infrared sensors which effectively film the pulsation of the veins. Some fitness trackers provide fixed heartrate monitoring, whereas others have to have that characteristic switched on throughout workouts.
Either method, the reliability of those readings is considerably variable, which is one thing we’ll be extra. An various providing comes from the UP3 from Jawbone. This device does away with the traditional heartrate sensor and as a substitute presents a ‘bioimpedance sensor’ which measures the resistance supplied by the skin. This characteristic is definitely similar to how a treadmill works using the grips to monitor your heartrate.
Other options include temperature monitoring, GPS tracking (for runs) and even UV sensitivity. Which of these you need will in fact rely upon what you plan on monitoring.
A final necessary factor for lots of fitness trackers is the social element. Most fitness trackers assist you to compete with friends and relatives to see which of you might be getting the most exercise they usually assist you to examine your self to different folks in your demographic. All this offers encouragement and help which is usually a nice help if you’re struggling for motivation to get out and get training.
With all this in mind then, you need to have image of what a typical fitness tracker can offer. Let’s move on to evaluating a couple of of the top choices to see how they hold up.
The Top Fitness and Activity Trackers
Let’s start with a fitness tracker that sits on the top-end in terms of capabilities. While the Microsoft Band and Band 2 are usually not the rockstars of fitness monitoring that Fitbit is, they nonetheless pack in much more sensors and options and are probably essentially the most full providing for many who are actually eager on measuring their well being.
If you purchase the Microsoft Band 2, then you’re going to get the next sensors:
- All day LED heartrate monitoring
- UV sensor
- Ambient light sensor
- Galvanic skin response
- Temperature monitor
Together, these provide a truly comprehensive image of your health. When you view the stats by the app or in your laptop, you may how your coronary heart rate modified all through the day and the way issues like caffeine and sleep might need affected it. You also can see the variety of steps you took, if you had been most correct and what number of flights of stairs you ascended. You’ll additionally see your energy burned of course.
Is the heart rate monitoring correct? Overall the answer is yes. A Polar chest strap will nonetheless be more accurate however for most individuals it’s not going to be far off. Your mileage could range although and it seems that some factors like skin pigmentation could affect simply how good a studying you get.
When you sleep, you get to see how long you slept versus how long you had been in bed, what number of instances you awakened and the way your heartrate diverse all through the night. Eventually, you’ll begin getting some contextual tips and recommendation on how you can enhance your sleep together with some ‘observations’. The Band 2 additionally comes with a smart alarm which works by buzzing if you’re on the lightest levels in your sleep as much as 30 minutes before you set your alarm. This reduces ‘sleep inertia’ so you’re not groggy if you get up.
When you train both within the gym or out running, you’ll get an much more minute-by-minute breakdown of your heartrate. During training you’ll have the ability to see what number of energy you burned, how a lot of that was fats vs carbs, and what the ‘cardio benefit’ of that training was. With time, the Band may even inform you roughly what your VO2 max is, which an incredible measure of cardio fitness is. If you’re running and also you activate the GPS, you’ll have the ability to see your routes mapped and a breakdown of your greatest speeds, splits, tempo and instances. Oh and utilizing the UV sensor, it will probably inform you when it’s time to placed on solar cream!
What makes the Band 2 an improvement on the likes of Fitbit although is the large touchscreen which presents an intuitive and pleasant-to-use display screen for getting round. This reveals you information comparable to your present heartrate and tempo if you’re training however it additionally permits for extra fascinating issues. For instance, you may really obtain pre-set exercises from the Microsoft Health App after which get talked by units and reps or explicit fitness drills. You also can create your personal plans, which is a very nice contact.
There’s even a ‘golf’ mode that tracks your efficiency on the golf course, measuring swings and follow swings and displaying your route as you observe the holes round.
And better yet is the fact that the Microsoft Band 2 also works as a smartwatch. Not only does it assist you to see your messages, reply to them, learn e-mails and verify the climate – it additionally permits you put in apps that others have made. Some of those are actually helpful, such because the ‘music control’ app that permits you to management Spotify in your telephone. These options even have well being profit too – in that they prevent you from getting out your telephone each two minutes and assist you to be extra ‘present’ because of this.
The Microsoft Band and Band 2 work on Android, iOS, Windows Phone and even Windows 10 for PC. The downside? It’s sometimes uncomfortable fitness tracker on the market and might really be somewhat tough to sleep with. The first Band had some construct high quality points and it’s not waterproof so it’s not choice for swimmers. Battery life can be only 2 hours or much less in the event you use the HR tracking, GPS or ‘watch mode’.
The TomTom Spark is another top-end fitness tracker that has some actual killer options. Compared with the Microsoft Band 2 it’s not quite so pretty to have a look at however it’s additionally much more snug. In phrases of options, it additionally lacks the ‘smartwatch’ features of the Band 2 however makes up for it within the fitness options.
Sure, the TomTom Spark lacks a couple of of the Band 2’s metrics just like the barometer or the power to calculate VO2 max. However, the place it will get extra helpful is within the 5 day battery life and the waterproofing. These are nice features for many who are actually critical about tracking their fitness full time.
What’s additionally cool about this feature is that it offers you with the choice to ‘pick and choose’ the features you need. Some models for example will allow you to store music on the device (one thing else the Band can’t do) so that you don’t must take your telephone on runs (you’ll want Bluetooth headphones). You also can optionally select GPS tracking and heart rate monitoring and in the event you go for the complete characteristic set, it will once more be some of the complete trackers out there. What’s also cool is that you can use the Spark with a chest strap for more accurate readings.
The newest Fitbit is the Surge. The feature set is very similar to that of the Spark with a heartrate monitor, pedometer, sleep monitoring and a nice big display. It’s not a smartwatch although, so that you gained’t be utilizing it to send texts or catch-up on Twitter. Unfortunately it isn’t waterproof (like the Spark) but it does have GPS built-in.
Fitbit has one of the best apps from any fitness tracker and has been in the game long enough to build up a large ecosystem. It syncs with a ton of various apps and has maybe the easiest social elements of any model.
Like the Spark, the Surge has only a black and white display – whereas the Band 2, Apple Watch and Gear Fit all have color touchscreens.
The odd thing is that the Fitbit Surge is actually more expensive than the Band 2 or some versions of the Spark despite doing less. If you’re not fussed about the heartrate monitoring though, you may go along with a unique model of the Fitbit – such as the Flex – and that will additionally imply rocking a barely extra delicate look with out the show (only a few lights). The Charge HR meanwhile offers you a tiny display screen, plus heartrate monitoring – so once more you may actually choose the model that best suits you.
The Jawbone UP3 is one thing fully different from the other choices on this listing. The Jawbone UP3 has no display which some people will see as a downside however different people will love.
Certainly the UP, UP24 and UP3 are sporting among the most trendy designs of any fitness tracker and that is nice if you wish to stick with it carrying a watch or if you wish to keep away from being too ostentatious with your technology. Jawbone is additionally probably the greatest choices for ladies as its slim sufficient to suit round a skinny wrist/arm and likewise has out there designs that don’t seem like a big hulking piece of technology on your wrist.
The UP3 had a lot of delays at launch which damaged its reputation. However, the heartrate monitoring is fascinating (although it presents snapshots all through the day quite than steady updates) and also you do get some metrics you gained discover wherever else – like temperature throughout sleep.
There are different UP fashions too. The UP24 has no bioimpedance
We might go on forever, however the above should help to provide more than enough choice.
In case you’re nonetheless searching for that perfect tracker though, you may also take into account the Nike Fuleband SE which is nice for gamification and which measures ‘fuel points’ quite than steps (which correspond to general activity). Otherwise this one is a primary monitor. The Basis Peak is one other cool one with temperature monitoring, sensible train detection and HR.
The Gear Fit is a bit old now but has a (non 24 hour) coronary heart rate sensor and a ton of smartwatch options counting on Android Wear.
The VivoSmart from Garmin is a smooth fitness tracker which show that stays hidden till it wants to point out a notification – and with an incredible value level. The Vivosmart HR provides heartrate monitoring.
The Apple Watch additionally has a ton of well being monitoring options, although these are pretty gentle and the battery life is sort of poor. If you want having the most recent devices although and you might be simply in search of some entry stage fitness monitoring, then the Apple Watch might be a good way to get began.
Then there are the weirder and fewer well-known choices. The Jabra Sport Pulse measures your heartrate by your ears for example and presents fairly correct information. There are additionally a complete plethora of various and unusual fitness trackers on the way in which and already within the retailer, a few of which we’ll be within the subsequent part.
Note as properly that a lot of phones have basic fitness tracking capabilities these days too. For instance, the Galaxy Note 4 and 5 or the S4, 5 and 6 will both measure your heartrate, as do the latest iPhones.
Almost each phone has a pedometer in-built, or apps that may present that function. There are also a ton of apps you can obtain that will further improve the fitness monitoring options of your devices. For instance, you may obtain MyRunKeeper to track runs or Endomondo, or you can use MyFitnessPal to track your calories.