Common Fitness Tracker Features
Ideally, all fitness trackers should tell you how many steps you have done, which types of exercise you’ve done and how many calories you’ve burned.
GPS is common, but not in every single fitness tracker. If you want the utmost accuracy for pace and distance, it is a must, as well as if you want to track your route.
Phone apps can currently give GPS services for running, but a watch with this built-in means you can leave the phone at home, or even safe in your bag/pocket without the risk of dropping it.
Most will also monitor sleep, which is another huge contributing factor to our overall wellbeing. You may be asked to pop in information about calories and water consumed that day, too, which is good if you are changing your lifestyle as well as your fitness levels.
Fitness Tracker Extras
There are now features available such as blood oxygen level monitoring, and while they probably aren’t as accurate as having an ABG or pulse ox test, it is a good indicator that everything is okay.
In the past few years, we have realised that health and fitness are more than just exercise levels and body fat. If you want an overall picture of how your body is doing, also look for a fitness watch which monitors stress – it can let you know if you are stressed and need to take a minute out to do some breathing exercises.
Some also have compatible apps which can go well beyond just telling you about your fitness. From group session workouts to advice, it is basically a gym in your pocket.
The above battery information is just a guide. It is usually the maximum time a fitness watch battery will last without being over-used; features such as GPS can often really sap the energy.
Fitness trackers will need to be recharged. They often will tell you how much battery is left on-screen but some of the cheaper models may rely on your phone to tell battery levels. Some have developed solar charging recently, but you will often pay a lot more for these.
Your fitness tracker will need to connect to your phone to get the most out of it, such as displaying accurate data and recording the trends over time.
The two main phone operating systems are iOS and Android. Most will work with both, but some will only work with one, so check before you buy. If there is a chance you could change your OS in future, opt for one which can make the switch.
If you have a phone which uses Windows, this may be a bit trickier. They exist, but you’ll have less choice on your hands.