Trail runner athlete using her smart watch app to monitor fitness progress or heart rate during run cardio workout. Woman training outdoors on mountain rocks. Closeup of tech gear.

The Busy Athlete’s Introduction to Fitness Watches

Fitness watches go by many names such as fit watch, fitness tracker, fitness band and fitness tracker watch.

Whatever the name, it exists to give you feedback on your level of physical activity.

How Does a Fitness Watch Help Me?

You can find a fitness watch that will monitor practically anything that you desire.

It can monitor your heart rate during strenuous activity or while at rest.

A beep or a chime will remind you to stand up and move each hour.

A fit watch can keep track of how much water you’ve drunk and how many calories you consumed.

Importantly, it can also let you know how many calories you’ve burned.

However, it can do much more. For example, it can tell you how many hours of quality sleep you’re getting. If sleeping sounds more like inactivity rather than an activity, remember the importance sleep plays in your ability to function at a high level.

Which Sports Use Fitness Watches?

There are fitness tracker watches for a wide variety of sports.

Which sports use fitness watches
Image via Medical Futuristic

The most uncomplicated activity to track is the number of steps taken or the distance covered, making fitness watches ideal for walkers and runners. Not coincidentally, this is often most people’s introduction to wearable tech such as fitness watches.

The feedback your fitness watch will give you will also help you improve your cycling, elliptical workouts, weight training and boxing.

Specialized fitness watches for swimmers can monitor not only the number of swim strokes but also keep track of the type of stroke used. Those watches are, of course, waterproof and therefore more expensive.

What’s the Difference Between Fitness Watches and Smartwatches?

The gulf between fitness watches and smartwatches is disappearing but understanding the core difference between the two will help you decide the sort of tracker you need.

Fitness watches were created for the express purpose of making it simpler for health-conscious persons to stay abreast of their progress toward their activity goals.

Smartwatches, however, were designed to be wearable computers. It was a convenient way to check email and texts.

In time, as fitness watches grew in popularity, the makers of smartwatches reacted by incorporating activity-related features into their devices.

Now high-end fitness watches include some of the features and conveniences of smartwatches.

Additionally, most of the fitness watches on the market today enhance their abilities by working in conjunction with an app on your smartphone.

Fitness watches and smartwatches at one time were easily discernible because fitness trackers didn’t try too hard to imitate the look of a watch.

That’s changed. Sometimes it can be quite tricky to tell the two apart.  The line between fitness watches and smartwatches gets erased a little more with each innovation.

Who Makes the Best Fitness Watch?

One company stands above the others in the market of fitness watches — Garmin.

Garmin fitness watch
Image via Slash Gear

Garmin was an early manufacturer of fitness watches, but it didn’t make its mark by cornering the market on entry-level products. Instead, it made its reputation creating trackers more suited for the dedicated, experienced athlete.

Its products offer more nuanced data, giving an athlete more clues as to how to improve his performance. For instance, a GPS sensor gives runners a more precise measure of the distance that they’ve covered.

You can also opt to see your running path highlighted on a map.

Garmin boasts a wide range of fitness watches each with its distinctive features such as a barometric altimeter which keeps up with the number of floors you’ve climbed.

Garmin also offers an opportunity to program its watch to monitor specific types of workouts and sports from yoga to snowboarding, from golf to paddle boarding. You can also set a Garmin watch to follow a mixed workout of several different activities.

Are you under pressure at work or home? Garmin has a fitness tracker that will use the data from your vital signs such as your resting heart rate to determine your stress level. The watch will then coach you through a combination of relaxation techniques.

After you’re fully relaxed, you can use your fitness watch to tell you your overall level of fitness compared to other your age and gender.

Garmin fitness watches offer always-on displays to make it simple to read the device while engaged in your favorite sport. Fortunately, the watches also have long battery life.

Garmin also makes fitness watches for kids. Now you won’t have to nag your kid to play at least an hour a day. His watch will remind him.

Choosing Your First Fitness Watch

There’s no need to be intimidated by the number of choices available.

First, consider what you would want your fitness watch to monitor. Take into consideration your workout routine, your recreational sports activities as well as your daily life.

Compare your list of needs with the capabilities of the fitness watches on the market then choose the best fitness watch to help you reach that next level of fitness.

Category: Gym & Fitness

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