With the wide range of fitness trackers available on the market, tracking your physical activities with a mobile app that counts your every step is now easier and practical. Such an app usually requires little to no investment, especially if you are a beginner. However, If you're doing a more strenuous workout or physical activity and want to take your #fitnessgoals to the next level, tracking your runs or rides with advanced technology is recommended. You can easily track and obtain accurate distance, pacing, mapping, and other information—especially if your goal is to stay or get in shape.
This is where fitness trackers come into play. “Fitness trackers are a great tool for heart health. Being more active and changing your habits is important, but it can be difficult. Tracking likely helps a lot of people when combined with a clear goal to shoot for.” says Johns Hopkins cardiologist Seth Martin, M.D. , M.H.S. Fitness trackers can track your daily physical activity and even provide health features such as heart rate monitoring and sleep tracking.
How do Fitness Trackers work?
The fitness trackers usually rely on accelerometers. These are devices that detect and convert the movement of the body into data. The manufacturers of accelerometers have developed sophisticated algorithms that can detect steps with a device worn on the wrist or belt – not an easy task. The step count is not perfect; however, it is good enough for most people. Data is transmitted to a smartphone, tablet, or computer application where the software calculates the number of steps, distance traveled by a user, or the calories burned. The steps you take every day are all counted, and your activity will mostly be monitored and estimate calorie use. Some have alarms to remind you to move and stay active.
While the devices provide some information about your workout—for example, a digital reading of your heart rate, step count, or miles logged—the apps provide a wealth of additional data. Most, for example, generate graphs containing detailed data on your steps, exercise intensity, and sleep habits. They can tell you when you exercised the most during the day or when you were restless or awake at night. They also allow you to compare your performance from day to day and week to week.
Your Aid to Weight Loss
Many devices can be used to replace the calorie logs and activity journals that many dieters keep achieving their goals. For example, you can enter your current weight and desired weight into the app, and it will calculate a daily calorie allowance to help you reach your goal. If you enter the food you eat throughout the day, the app will compute the calories you've consumed, calculate the calories you've burned, and tell you how many calories you have left in your daily allowance.
What’s Your Fitness Tracker Style?
Knowing your activity and lifestyle allows you to choose which fitness tracker suits you best.See the following guides below and find out which style matches your needs.
Bracelets or Clip-ons? Although there are clip-ons and fitness tracking rings available on the market, most fitness trackers nowadays are worn on the wrist. The only difference is that bracelets and watches are difficult to lose because they are worn; clip-ons, on the other hand, can fall off or be thrown, especially if your activity requires rough movements.
Track Your Sleep? Many fitness trackers keep track of your sleep. Fitness trackers with sleep tracking feature generally use a three-axis accelerometer to detect movement more sensitively than it does during the day. Some devices generate graphs that show when you were in light and deep sleep based on motion.
Be specific with your activity. Swimmers, for example, will want a waterproof tracker but keep in mind that not all water-resistant trackers track swimming. Runners will most likely want a watch that displays time, distance, pace, and lap time. If you want satisfying accuracy for those metrics without carrying a smartphone, you'll need a runner's watch with built-in GPS.
Heart Rate Monitoring? Optical heart rate monitors are heart rate monitors that are built into the device. Most new smartwatches, running watches, and fitness trackers from Garmin, Fitbit, Polar, and Apple are equipped with optical sensors. In fact, optical wrist wearables are more comfortable and convenient, and should suffice if you're running steadily.
See it all on the Display. As for the display, look for a tracker with an always-on display should it be imperative to keep track of your stats at all times, or to simply use it as a wristwatch. It's also important to know how to control the tracker. If you enjoy running in the cold while wearing gloves, you should avoid devices with only touch-enabled displays. Most of these devices aren’t responsive to touch commands or swipes should a user wears gloves.
The App Matters. The app for a fitness tracker is important and critical because it is where you interpret the data collected by the tracker, whether it be installed or accessed on the web or on your phone. It calculates data, such as calories consumed, allergy severity, and stress level.
With all these being said, it can still be confusing to know where to start with the many fitness trackers on the market. Here are some top choices of fitness trackers to help you narrow it down to understand your health better.
Best Fitness Trackers of 2021
Fitbit Charge 4. The Fitbit Charge 4 might look the same as its predecessor, Charge 3, but the newer device includes onboard GPS. Even when your phone is left at home (accidentally or intentionally), this fitness track still lets you track your runs. Also, you can skip or play any song from your Spotify playlist right on your wrist if you want to change your music while exercising.
Its new feature called Active Zone Minutes measures any activity faster than a brisk walk. It prompts you to spend time at different levels of exertion based on your age and fitness (as measured by the watch).
Garmin Vivosmart 4. The Garmin Vivosmart 4 is designed for those who want to track their exercise or activity. The display screen on this version appears larger than any other Garmin products, and the battery should last you for about a week, depending on how much exercise you'll be doing.
Its new feature is called body battery, which notifies you of the best time to workout, based on how much energy you have. This is ideal for those who are as concerned with their recovery and overall well-being.
Huawei Band 3 Pro. If you are on a tight budget, this fitness tracker is for you. Huawei Band 3 Pro offers some great features given the cost. The Band 3 Pro comes with an onboard GPS, is waterproof, and has a 0.95-inch color display to display all of your stats on the wrist.
If you want a cost-effective entry-level device to start your first fitness journey, getting a Huawei Band 3 Pro is a great starting point.
Fitbit Charge 3. Despite some new changes and features of the new Charge 4, the Fitbit Charge 3 is still an excellent fitness tracker. It is lightweight in design and offers a lot of insight into your overall health. The display is larger and clearer than many fitness trackers, although the display is still in black and white.
While there's no onboard GPS, it is waterproof and offers a complete fitness package, including a heart rate tracker.
Honor Band 5. The Honor Band 5 has many improved fitness features and a colored touchscreen to view your activity insights and information.
One of the most useful features is sleep tracking, which provides advice on getting the most out of your sleep time and monitoring it in the same way other trackers do.
The Honor Band 5 is also one of the most affordable fitness trackers on the market, so if you're looking for a fitness monitor or sleep tracker that isn’t as expensive as some, this is a good fitness tracker to start with.
Amazfit Bip. This device appears to be more of a smartwatch than any of the fitness trackers mentioned previously, but because it runs its own software and has a strong focus on fitness, we included it in this list.
The Apple Watch undeniably influences the Amazfit Bip design, and it includes a slew of features such as GPS, an accurate heart rate tracker, multi-sport tracking, sleep tracking, and VO2 Max.
Xiaomi Mi Band 4. The Xiaomi Mi Band 4 is one of the most reasonably priced fitness trackers available. It features a slim design, a smallish color screen with a capacitive button, and a selection of workouts to track.
However, it has a few great features for fitness enthusiasts, such as its 20-day battery life, useful heart rate monitor, and easy-to-view screen.
If you prefer a more watch-like design than everything else on this list, the Bip is for you. It's also light, with an always-on display and a strong battery life that should last about a month depending on your usage.
Putting fitness trackers to the test
Of course, getting a fitness tracker may seem surreal for some. But to know if it will work excellently as expected, it is important to wear the device all day to assess and evaluate in terms of hardware design and comfort, as some larger trackers don’t fit well on smaller wrists.
Additionally, if the device has a touchscreen, it is also important to check how readable the text or numbers are on the screen, especially in bright sunlight. Navigating the fitness trackers' menus should be easy, allowing you to swipe or select functions to change your music, for example, if you're out for a quick run.
Evaluating features such as step counting and sleep monitoring, distance calculations, GPS, and heart rate accuracy is also imperative if you want accurate results. And when you do strenuous activities, long-lasting battery life will be your buddy in keeping up with your long daily or weekly workouts.
Fitness trackers should also be easily paired with other smart devices, and their companion app must be made readily available on Google Play or Apple App Store. Knowing the devices’ other functions and app support features such as coaching and diet tracking, is useful, especially if you prefer other third-party apps, like MyFitnessPal.
All in all, wearable devices, such as smartwatches and activity or fitness trackers, can provide useful insights into our health and well-being. There is a plethora of fitness trackers to choose from, but it is important to know your fitness goals, activities, and lifestyle for a user to determine which fitness tracker is the most ideal. Most importantly, testing a fitness tracker is also crucial for those who will most likely use one to track their daily physical activities.
Whether it’s getting in shape, losing weight, or maintaining good health and overall well-being, wearable electronic devices will continue to evolve and provide even more accurate data and insights--not only monitoring of physical activity but also physiological signals such as detecting asymptomatic and pre-symptomatic cases of viruses, such as COVID-19
Tech companies such as Voler Systems continually pursue developing Novel wearable devices with new features.
Voler Systems has years of experience in electronic design and has worked on hundreds of projects involving sensors, wireless communication, and low power.
We have designed and developed wearable devices from consumer products to high-end wearable technology in healthcare. We have created sensor-based wearable products like AR glasses and health monitors in which we manage the design trade-offs between size, power, and cost.
Our team takes on complete responsibility for all aspects of development, or we can share the responsibility with your in-house team. We also have partners who can provide mechanical design, optical design, quality and regulatory work, transfer to manufacturing, manufacturing on-shore or off-shore, and other services to provide complete product development.