If you’re trying to shed pounds or perfect your workout regimen, a fitness tracker can be invaluable. Not only does it tell you what to eat and how much activity is being done each day, but it also tracks other important information like sleep quality and stress levels. With the right device in hand, it will become easy to stay on track!
All fitness trackers use various sensors to measure your movement, heart rate and other vital health information. They usually connect wirelessly with a smartphone app that stores this data.
Heart Rate Monitoring
Heart rate monitoring, or HRM, is an excellent tool to track your fitness progress. It shows you the number of beats per minute (BPMs) your heart makes while exercising, which can help you gauge intensity and determine if you’re working out too hard or not enough.
Heart rate monitors come in a range of accuracy levels; the most precise use electrode sensors that attach directly against your chest or arm. Other types rely on optical sensors that can be placed on an armband or watch for added convenience.
These are less accurate but still reliable if worn continuously. The only drawback is that they cannot accurately estimate heart rates during resting states.
Fitness tracker models that measure calories burned use an algorithm that takes into account your age, weight and sexual preference. They also rely on movement data to calculate your basal metabolic rate – which depends on how you move your body – which depends on how often you exercise.
Calorie burn is essential to get a clear picture of how much energy your body uses daily. This information can help you decide how much food to eat and what type of exercise to do.
One small study comparing seven wrist-worn fitness trackers found they were inaccurate in their energy expenditure estimates. They varied by as much as 27 percent and 93 percent, respectively.
Sleep is an integral part of healthy living, and we all know the power of a good night’s rest for both physical and mental wellbeing. Tracking your sleep patterns is one way to enhance it, and fitness trackers provide plenty of tools to assist with this endeavor.
These devices range in sophistication, but all collect data about your sleeping habits using various sensors like heart rate and movement. After processing it through an algorithm, they display it on an app so you can review history, assess sleep quality, and make changes based on their findings.
Blood Pressure Monitoring
Many fitness trackers come equipped with built-in blood pressure monitors. These can be useful for monitoring both systolic and diastolic pressure levels.
They work by inflating a cuff that covers your upper arm, temporarily blocking blood flow to the main artery. After some time has elapsed, however, the cuff is deflated and your vein is restored.
These monitors can be placed almost anywhere on the body, though they may not always provide accurate results due to their sensitivity to placement and temperature.
For accurate readings, use an upper arm blood pressure monitor. Digital monitors may not be as precise as an upper arm cuff monitor, but they may be suitable if cuff monitoring causes discomfort or your upper arm is too large for one.
Fitness trackers continuously detect your movements with a three-axis accelerometer. They then display information about your activity such as steps taken, calories burned, floors climbed and heart rate.
Some activity tracking devices offer features to set goals and monitor progress. These can be invaluable tools in encouraging healthy habits.
Recent analysis of research indicates that modern activity trackers that provide automatic feedback on your activity level are more successful at motivating people to become physically active than older models. These devices and apps are user-friendly, don’t need a computer to upload data, and can help people increase their overall physical activity levels.