Fitness-conscious people are turning to tech to help them do things previously inconceivable, like tracking their daily steps, measuring their heart rate, finding exercise tips, or finding fitness aficionados. like-minded to support each other.

But do these technologies help you become more active? Do you really need to spend the money on one of these gadgets? And if so, how to choose the right gadget among all those that exist on the market?

What is a fitness tracker?

There are several types of wearable technologies.

Pedometers count the number of steps you take per day and convert them into kilometers, thus telling you how far you have walked each day.

Sports watches are intended for specific sports, such as running, cycling or swimming. They typically include a stopwatch, functions to calculate distance, and features such as stopwatches, lap counters, and training logs.

Heart rate monitors measure your heart rate in real time, usually using a chest strap or a strapless model. Some GPS watches also come with monitoring features.

Of course, fitness tracking watches or bracelets are the most common. These gadgets usually monitor the different actions you perform throughout the day, such as the amount of movement you have made or the duration and depth of your sleep. Instead of using a different electronic device for each activity, such as a pedometer, sports watch, and sleep app, a smart fitness tracker combines many of these functions into one device.

Fitness trackers have an advantage over other types of wearable technology because they’re generally easy to wear and take: There’s often no need to start a timer or turn it off after activity (although it’s make sure it’s waterproof before stepping into the shower!)

Health benefits of fitness trackers

The use of wearable devices such as fitness trackers can have significant consequences on your health. A recent British Medical Journal study looked at the effectiveness of physical activity trackers in adults.

Reviewing data from 121 randomized controlled trials and 141 study comparisons, it was concluded that the use of physical activity trackers increased daily physical activity by approximately 1,235 steps per day. Additionally, these activity trackers increased moderate and vigorous physical activity by 48.5 minutes per week. Interestingly, they didn’t have much of an effect on sedentary behavior. (Obviously, many people ignore the invitation to stand!)

These are impressive results nonetheless, as it seems that people who don’t have a watch or fitness device would be less likely to achieve these goals. The benefits of walking are well established and well-planned 10-minute workouts can still work wonders, so those extra 48 minutes a week could literally be life changing.

In addition, an analysis of 26 studies looking at the use of pedometers by American adults found that those who used a pedometer increased their daily activity by 2,419 steps, or more than one kilometer! Overall, people who tracked their physical activity did 27% more than those who didn’t use a pedometer. In addition, they managed to naturally reduce their blood pressure as well as their fat percentage. The researchers concluded that having a specific goal to achieve, such as 10,000 steps a day, motivated people to keep moving.

Even if you’re already quite active, a fitness tracker can help you find extra opportunities to move throughout the day. You might as well take advantage of an inexpensive smartphone app that offers similar functions. But don’t forget that it’s much easier to wear a fitness tracker that acts as a watch on your arm than to always have your smartphone with you.

How to choose the right tracker

1. Determine the features you need

If you’re new to fitness or looking for a tracker that covers the essentials, like counting steps, calories, and movement, almost any device will do.
But if you’re already very active, you might want to invest in a tracker that goes beyond the basics. Features like GPS allow your tracker to map where you’ve been and measure things like elevation.

Heart rate monitors can be useful for more experienced athletes. In the past, options were limited to trackers synced to chest straps, but nearly all newer models can measure your heart rate, even from wristbands.

And if you have a preference for an activity, like running or swimming, make sure your tracker is designed to track it. After all, if your primary source of exercise isn’t trackable, your gadget will be much less useful. (Also make sure it’s waterproof up to 50 meters if you’re a swimmer).

If you’re a serious athlete, you’ll probably want a lot more features and gadgets than the man or woman on the street. A more professional tracker might be the answer. In addition, many new smartwatches also allow mobile payments, which can be very convenient. More sophisticated models can even store music or give you access to a streaming service. If so, these options also have a bluetooth connection for headphones. Finally, the best fitness tracking smartwatch for iPhone users remains the Apple Watch, which offers many of the aforementioned features. Plus, she can take phone calls, send text messages, and more.

2. Decide how much you’re willing to spend

Fitness trackers can range from moderately priced under $60 to models over $500. It’s important to look at the options in your price range and the features each one offers, and be honest with yourself about what you will and won’t use. If you’re considering upgrading to more advanced features, keep that in mind when looking at pricing. A $75 fitness tracker might do the trick for now, but in a few months you might want more features. In this case, it may be more cost-effective to opt for the more expensive model from the start. Also watch out for “extras” that require a separate purchase. If you add them up, your cheap plotter may end up being more expensive than you imagined.

3. Choose a model that suits your lifestyle

Since you’re going to be wearing this tracker for most of your day, you need to make sure it looks good and feels great! Do you prefer a device you can wear on your wrist or a fitness tracker that clips to your shoe or clothing, preferably in the color of your choice? If you want to see your progress throughout the day on a screen, a watch is the perfect solution. If you’re just downloading and viewing your data at your leisure, a simple wristband should suffice. Do you need a waterproof device, so you can shower or swim with your bracelet on, or do you have to remember to take it off every time?

4. Opt for software that works with your other technologies

You will need to interact frequently with the app built into your fitness tracker. Does it have the features you want? You need to make sure the app is easy to use or at least easy to learn. Some software also includes social functions, which allow you to compete with real or virtual friends (or to support them). If encouragement is something important in your fitness journey, it’s worth seeking out.

Since fitness trackers are designed to sync with your smartphone, you need to make sure they are compatible with your phone’s operating system. Most devices work with Android and iOS systems, but there are exceptions. An Apple Watch, for example, will not work on your Samsung device. And if you have a BlackBerry or Windows phone, many trackers won’t sync at all.

Finally, if possible, try out the devices in-store or order them from an online retailer that offers a generous return policy, to get a good idea of ​​how the tracker fits into your lifestyle.


However, if the thought of wearing a tracker causes more anxiety than excitement or is likely to lead to overtraining, it may be a good idea to not wear it at all. Indeed, while fitness trackers are a good way to gauge our baseline activity levels (remember, they shouldn’t substitute for a real health professional), if the use of a tracker is stressful, maybe it’s better to track your activity the old-fashioned way.

* criptom strives to transmit health knowledge in a language accessible to all. In NO CASE, the information given can not replace the opinion of a health professional.