Chances are that in your lifetime you’ve seen technology become smaller, cheaper, and more complex. Technology is a fast-paced industry, making constant advances. Fitness trackers are one of the best examples of this. From designated heart rate monitoring chest straps to smartwatches, there are many different ways to track your fitness and capture that data.
Smartphones make it easier than ever to monitor your fitness. There’s no need to juggle multiple devices, your smartphone is sometimes all you need for fitness tracking. With Bluetooth (BLE) technology most sensors can pair directly to your phone. This lets you see and study your workout data from anywhere. In addition to being a device you already own, smartphones make a great fitness tracking hub because of their connectivity and backup options. Phones can make it easy to share and backup your workout data.
Because there are so many different devices to track your fitness things can get confusing. Different devices provide different features and limitations. Choosing the monitor that best suits your fitness level is important. This article will run you through the basic features of your fitness monitor so you can choose the best option for your needs.
One type of fitness monitor you’ve probably seen at the gym or on passing runners is the chest strap heart rate monitor. This type of monitor uses electrodes that pick up the electrical signal that your heart produces as it contracts through your skin.
By picking up these electrical impulses, converting them into beats per minute, and sending this value to a device via either Bluetooth or ANT+ technology, you are able to record those heart rate values to quantify your workout intensity and your improvement over time. These types of monitors will give you very accurate readings. Most of these electrode-type heart rate monitors are not designed to be worn continuously. This means that they only generally record active workout data. Also, most of these monitors do not record other metrics that runners, cyclists or other athletes might find important. Because chest strap heart rate monitors don’t record distance, pace or location they may not be an ideal choice for everyone.
For those who are looking for the most accurate possible heart rate data chest straps are a must-have. Electrode heart rate monitors give the most accurate possible readings for consumer devices. You may need to connect to another device for more information, but chest straps still have a value. For people who prioritize accuracy a chest strap is one of the best items to add to your workout tracking toolbelt.
One of the simplest ways to get an overview of your level of daily activity is to use a pedometer. Pedometers are devices that measure the steps you take over the course of a day. Though older pedometers used a mechanized pendulum to count the shifting and tilting of your body in motion, most smartphones are able to use accelerometer data to count your steps for the day. Conventional wisdom seems to tell us that 10,000 steps taken a day will keep you health and fit. Because this number is both easy to remember and easy to calculate — since most of us already have a device that can keep track of this number — it seems to be a number thrown around especially often for those beginning their fitness journeys.
This 10,000 step goal isn’t necessarily supported by evidence. Studies seem to show that long bouts of slow exercise are less likely to provide significant health improvements than shorter bursts of high-intensity exercise. Not all steps are alike. Still, pedometers have their place in health and fitness tracking.
Becoming more active is always a good way to improve your health. With all of the evidence that is beginning to show the harms of sitting, the benefits of standing and walking cannot be overstated. Though, pedometers can be a helpful tool if you’re looking to stand more often. By seeing your daily steps you can note how much time you spent sitting, and see your activity at a glance. Tracking your steps is one of the easiest fitness tracking methods. That being said, tracking your steps only gives you a limited overview of your fitness level.
For those fitness enthusiasts who prefer to perform their workouts outdoors, GPS mapping is one of the best ways to record a variety of outdoor metrics. The simplest way to track your GPS in a workout is by using a GPS-enabled smartphone. These devices will record your route information, speed, distance and pacing. These GPS tracking devices can keep track of your distance, pace, laps, split times, and elevation. Due to this GPS tracking you will get a more complete overview of your workout data afterwards.