There are few categories of wearables that offer such a dizzying number of options as the fitness wristbands. The number of models and brands is always increasing and understanding their function and choosing among the various models available is increasingly complicated.
Although the latest crop of activity trackers has offered step tracking and sleep, new wristbands include internal heart rate monitors, increased sensors, waterproofing, GPS and smartphone notifications making the latest bracelets hybrid models among fitness wristbands, race watches and smartwatches.
Other features to consider include application software, battery life, and the ease with which you can synchronize your data back to your phone or the web. Make the right choice, however, and this little bit of technology can make you live healthier and feel better. This is where we enter …
What is the fit bracelet and what is it for?
While the fitness bracelets have exploded in popularity, it’s worth taking a second to consider what you want from it.
Fitness trackers will in general track your daily activity in terms of steps and calories burned through the movement. You set a goal of how active you want to be and they will give you an approximate guide to how successful you are. However, fitness wristbands are often surrounded by misconceptions, partially fueled by the opaque language and promises of manufacturers.
While many physical activity monitors report activity bursts, they are not adept at specific sports-specific metrics. Those who practice swimming, boogie and Pilates, for example, will only receive a report of the movement or heart rate of those sessions and of the heat burn and not a performance break.
Another common misconception is about running and cycling. Without GPS, fitness trackers can not accurately report their pace or distance and therefore are much lower than a dedicated race clock. They can, however, offer a basic guide to your workouts. Some more modern models even offer GPS, which can help you track the paths you’ve taken, how far you’ve walked and more.
If you want a tool to help you practice sports and monitor your performance, the fitness bracelet is a great choice, and the tips below will help you navigate through the many options available.
Physical Activity Monitor Design
While most crawlers involve your wrist, there are models that hold your clothing and may be more comfortable to use on the wrist. Some crawlers can also be used in clips or pockets, or swap between wristbands and clips. Some models come with a variety of stylish accessories that even allow you to use the crawler around the neck as a pendant.
And while the choice used to be about which colors to choose or whether the model had a screen or not, smart clocks are now offering even more options with color screens and a variety of apps to help track their physical activity.
Waterproof Watch Bracelet
There are a handful of fitness monitors that can be taken to the pool and inform about your swimming sessions. They will track lengths in the pool while others can record length and burn calories. The best models will detect the strokes and offer data on their technique, offering much more for obsessed swimmers. None of them can detect heart rate in the pool because for that, you would have to move to appropriate sports watches. And even then, the result is not so good.
Understanding Activity Monitor Heart Rate Technology
Monitoring heart rate on fitness wristbands is now common, providing a great increase in accuracy in terms of the caloric burning of your day. However, the type of tracking differs greatly. Some models monitor your heart rate 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and record your resting heart rate when you wake up, which is a great metric to improve your health. They will also track your heart rate during a timed session. Others are only starting to monitor when you set up the app for this or during sports.
Physical activity monitor with or without screen?
Choose a bracelet with a built-in monitor and you can monitor your fitness goals and time without activating a mobile app. That means a model with a screen, even if small. However, a screen usually adds a little to the price, so think twice to find out if you really need one.
How much data do you need from a physical activity monitor?
The steps taken and your sleep are the two main areas of focus for most trackers, although the relative accuracy of each is difficult to assess as these fitness trackers measure your movements during the day and at night and try to guess how far you is walking and how well you are sleeping.
The important thing is that the technology in today’s crawlers is good but not perfect. Until GPS tracking becomes the norm in physical activity trackers, use them as motivational aids rather than scientifically accurate monitors.
Many trackers can also take note of your workouts, swimming sessions, cycling and other types of exercise, although you usually need to tell your tracker what you are doing each time.
See what information would be important to your workout before buying a model.
The application is just as important as the fitness bracelet
The mobile app that comes with your wristband is a vital part of the equation, allowing you to analyze your data, set goals, challenge your friends, and so on. First of all, make sure your crawler works with your favorite cell phone (most of them now support Android and iOS ).
There may also be a huge discrepancy in quality between the Android and iOS applications of a brand. Compare the versions before purchase so do not pass great frustration. Check user ratings and other buyers before buying your model.
Battery life and charging of fit strap
Battery life is an important factor to consider since having to carry your wrist strap every few days can be a real problem in your attempts to track your fitness regimen, and crucially it may mean you have to leave it at home or run out during a work day.
The bracelets now fall into two fields: those that require recharging every five days via a USB cable and devices that use a battery that lasts about six months. Search and find the model that fits your needs. It is worth remembering that a smartwatch may require a daily charge to use.
What fitness bracelet did you choose? How did you make the choice?