Health has never been as vital as it is today (as it should!). Whether it be cycling, hitting some weights at the gym, or going for a run to the park and back, exercise is the best way not only to be healthier and fitter but to also boost your confidence.
Tracking your progression is vital when it comes to reaching your fitness goals, which is why fitness trackers or health-tracking watches have been designed to simplify how you track progression.
You might be wondering: “Should I get myself one of those then?” Well, before you decide on your purchase, it is always wise to know what exactly a health-tracking watch or fitness tracker does, its benefits and drawbacks, and some of the factors to consider before finding the perfect health-tracking watch that suits your needs. Without further ado, let’s jump right to it.
What does a typical health-tracking watch really do?
A health-tracking watch is essentially a hi-tech wearable device that measures and inputs your movements by using sensors. All these data inputs will be converted to specific metrics such as the number of steps, calories burnt, how long did you sleep, and your overall activity as a general viewpoint.
For instance, an altimeter is a sensor that measures your altitude; this is used to record the number of stairs you have climbed.
In addition, these watches can also monitor your heart rate and keep track of your caloric intake with just a few tweaks in the settings to set you up towards your nutritional goals. These data inputs can be viewed in the form of graphs and aesthetically designed labels in smartphone apps.
Plus, should you decide to take your goals up a notch, you can always change your goals through the app, and you’re good to crush your next milestone!
These health-tracking watches have been a gamechanger in changing people’s lives through using technology to streamline their fitness journey. These gadgets are great for various reasons, but it also has its downfalls. So, before you decide, here are some of the pros and cons you should be aware of.
- Keeps you accountable
The most challenging thing in pursuing your fitness goals isn’t starting it but being consistent is. These health-tracking watches are designed to enable integration with smartphone apps. This means you can share your routine, workout sessions and even challenge a friend or family member to push each other towards your individual fitness goals.
So, if you struggle with consistency and want to take the upper hand, then a health-tracking watch is one way to go!
- Makes a great motivation booster
Have you ever felt like you reached your limit on that jog or hike and feel like you’re mentally done? Well, chances are you aren’t! David Goggins, a former NAVY SEAL, shares the recipe to mental toughness called the 40 percent rule. It says: “When your mind is telling you that you’re done, that you’re exhausted, that you cannot possibly go any further, you’re only 40% done.”
And this goes to succeeding in anything in life outside your fitness goals.
Consider this gadget as your personal trainer, which provides you with visual progress on what you’ve accomplished so far. This includes your steps, calories burnt, your food intake, and so on.
If ever you’re too busy, it can remind you to go work out or take a jog so you’ll never lose sight of your health goals. So, if you ever feel like quitting, check your health-tracking watch and remind yourself of how far you have come to get here.
- Helps you eat well
Nutrition is just as essential as exercising when achieving your target physique or your overall fitness and health. A health-tracking watch helps you track how much and what your caloric intake is and how much water you’ve drunk.
It essentially acts as a guide to ensure whatever you intake to your body aligns with your goals by helping you make healthier and well-informed choices (despite those tempting cheat meals).
- Set personalized fitness goals
Everybody is different, though plan A may be a great plan, it may not be the best one for you. This is why you need tailored fitness goals to ensure you can safely and effectively reach your fitness goals with a self-customized plan.
The fact that you’re setting these goals makes it even more of a motivation-booster to put the work in and eventually accomplish it. Goal-setting helps you pinpoint your focus and creates a structured routine to consistently work towards your desired fitness level.
- Ensures you get enough sleep time
Rest days are underrated. Recovery is also an essential factor to help the muscle heal and grow towards your goals. This is why having a good sleeping quality is crucial to ensure your metabolism, energy levels, and mood are at their optimum levels when you wake up.
Health-tracking watches may be able to keep track of your sleeping patterns, your duration of sleep, and even how many times you wake up. Doing so helps you identify and improve your way to get that comfy and deep sleep you need to re-energize and crush the next day.
- Keeps your heart rate in check
Unlike those chest straps that create much of a hassle, typical health-tracking watches can monitor your heart rate by recording your pulse by aiming light to blood vessels in your wrist. It does so by picking up changes in your blood volume as your heart pumps. This is an essential feature as it informs users on how intense their workouts can go and warn them before they start overexercising.
- May be costly
Despite all its features, such as an edgy design, colorful displays, and sophisticatedly simplified functionalities, health-tracking watches do come at a cost, an expensive one. Purchasing them to actually use them regularly would justify the cost over time.
But if you choose to wear them occasionally, then it might not be worth the investment. Because health-tracking can be done through other means, health-tracking watches are more of a nice-to-have rather than a necessity.
- Limited battery life
This also depends on the brand, of course. Still, your average health-tracking watch typically lasts up to a day before having to recharge them. It may be tedious to charge them regularly, and forgetting to charge them means you might also mean you won’t get to record your workout session on that day.
- Possible inaccuracies
Though you have reputable health-tracking watch brands such as Garmin or Fitbit, there are several of these watches that offer nowhere near a one hundred percent accurate measurement, especially the lower-priced ones. Instead, these watches only measure and input a loose estimation of your steps walked or the number of stairs climbed, making them less reliable.
Considerations before getting a health-tracking watch
Should you choose to move forward and to get one of your own, then here are some factors you might need to know beforehand:
Depending on the brand, a health-tracking watch should fall between $100 and $1,000. The more sensors and metrics it can measure, the more costly it gets. However, higher-priced ones may give more accurate metrics than cheaper ones that only offer a loose estimate of your metrics, such as steps walked or calories burnt during your daily routine.
Different brands have various designs and types of health-tracking watches to suit what kind of activities you do on a daily basis. So, say you frequently walk but do no other forms of exercise, then a budget-friendly Fitbit will work just fine. But, if you want to run hands-free without having to carry your phone around, you will need a watch that has a stand-alone GPS.
- The bottom line
Wearable technology such as health-tracking watches can go a long way to serve a purpose in your fitness journey. However, before you decide on whatever life decisions, such as pursuing a more active lifestyle, doing your due diligence helps you make more informed decisions.
Health-tracking watches are excellent to help you keep track of how far you have progressed. Some of its primary functions include measuring and keeping records of the calories you burnt, the number of stairs you climbed, steps you walked or ran for the day, and tracks the calories you ate.
On top of that, some of these watches can also measure your heart rate (to ensure you find the right intensity that works best for you) and sleeping duration (to help you make those tweaks for better sleep at night).
However, the more the metrics it has and the more accurate these watches are, the more expensive they may be. This is why determining your budget and purpose of getting a health-tracking watch is crucial in getting you a watch model that aligns with your purpose of purchase and is budget-friendly at the same time.
As long as you have considered these factors, a health-tracking watch would certainly be worth the investment.