Fitness Trackers That Play Music

Fitness Trackers That Play Music

Listening to music whilst you exercise is a great way to motivate yourself to do more reps or push harder, longer and stronger . Indeed, there is research to back this up.  And, if you are anything like us the device you play your music on is almost as important as your trainers. What if you could ditch your phone or music device and crank out those uplifting workout tunes. We take a look at the options to try and find the best fitness tracker with music.

Fitness trackers that play music break down into 2 different styles:-

  • Onboard storage where the music is kept natively on the tracker. Typically, they come with about 3GB – 4GB of storage, enough to store around 500 – 800 tunes.
  • Bluetooth paired where you to stream music from a smartphone paired with your tracker.

Another thing to bear in mind is that none of the devices come with a headphone jack and require a set of bluetooth headphones. Dependent on which tracker you buy this may need to be an additional purchase or will come specifically tailored for that tracker.

We’ve scoured the market and compiled a list of the best

Fitness trackers that play music

1. Apple Watch

Apple Watch
Now that we are on series 4 of the Apple watch there are several models that will work as a fitness tracker that play music. If you’re the type who likes the latest or greatest the Apple Watch series 4  with LTE functionality offers the ability to stream music from Apple Music and make calls directly from the watch.If you feel that is overkill the lower spec watches offer 8GB of onboard storage which should give you a reasonable amount of space for tunes. WatchOS4 provides numerous music based benefits including the ability to sync curated playlists from Apple Music to the watch and better synchronization with any iPhone you stream stored music from.

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2. Samsung Gear Fit 2 Pro

Samsung Gear Fit 2 Pro

Another smart watch, this time from Samsung. The waterproof Gear Fit 2 pro comes with all the goodies you would expect from a high end expensive fitness tracker. Running Tizen OS gives you access to a vast array of apps and 4GB of onboard storage allows you to make use of the phones offline Spotify functionality. None of the other fitness trackers that play music offer Spotify support so it is definitely ground breaking.

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3. Fitbit Ionic

Fitbit Ionic
Fitbit acquired Pebble to improve its smart watch offering the first result of which is The Ionic. As you would expect there is a strong emphasis on fitness and the device benefits from Fitbit’s expertise in this area. Other notable features are device payments, silent alarm, notifications and tight integration into the Fitbit ecosystem.
Music wise there is 2.5GB of on board storage which should allow for around 300 songs or other audio tracks. Tracks are added to the device using the Fitbit Connect desktop app and you listen via bluetooth headphones. Overall, it offers a lot of features and fans of Fitibit products will probably like it but for others the price may prove to be prohibitive.

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4. Garmin Vivosmart 3

Garmin Vivosmart 3

The Garmin Vivosmart 3 does not offer as many features as some of the other trackers in this list. Music is not stored on the device itself but is streamed from your mobile phone. You have the ability to pause, play and skip tracks within your default music app. Enough control for some but could be frustrating if you use other music apps like Pandora.

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5. TomTom Spark Cardio + Music

TomTom Spark Cardio + Music

The waterproof flagship in TomTom’s stable equipped with all the features you would expect including GPS, heart rate monitor and a built in music player. Packing 3GB of internal storage gives you have the possibility of storing around 500 songs on the Spark freeing you from the need to carry your phone or music player with you.Getting your music on the Spark is achieved by using the supplied Tom Tom MySports Connect App where you can choose your favourite tunes from your PC and upload them to the device.
As with a lot of fitness trackers there is no headphone jack and you will need to buy a set of compatible bluetooth headphones. Alternatively, you may consider downgrading a couple of models and look at the Tom Tom Spark 3 Music edition where TomTom provide the headphones.
With all these smarts the watch may be a little bit too bulky for some and there are also some reports of slow GPS signal pick up time.

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6. Polar M600

Polar M600

More of a smartwatch than a fitness tracker the waterproof M600 runs on Android Wear and is equipped with a GPS tracker, 1.3 inch touch screen display and optical heart rate monitor. To get the most of your phone you will need an Android mobile as iOS and other devices won’t benefit from the tight integration that Android can offer. Music you can transfer music to the device or use the Google Play to save tracks directly to the watch. 4GB of onboard storage should be enough space to get a few tunes ready for your workout. All in all a great fitness tracker that plays music.

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7. New Balance Run IQ

New Balance Run IQ

Running Android Wear 2 the RunIQ has a large screen and is waterproof up to 50m. it is possible to use the music on your phone or make use of the 4GB of onboard storage and Google Play Music which is around 50 hours. As ever, the device requires bluetooth headphones. The PaceIQ headphones are designed for use and offer the benefit of hearing your current lap stats by clicking on the device’s RunIQ button.

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8. Huwaei Watch 2

Huwaei Watch 2

Probably not as well known as the other brands the Huawei Watch 2 is a fitness focused smart watch. As it is equipped with 4GB of onboard storage and runs Android Wear it gives you the possibility of uploading tracks from Google Play music if you want to go phone free or the ability to control your phones music player if not. The watch also has a built in speaker through which you can play your music. The watch is bulky but a great choice for someone who enjoys all the fitness tracking capabilities of smartphones.

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Polar M400 Waterproof Activity Tracker (Review)

The release of the Polar M400 marked the advent of the now increasingly blurred lines between your standard affordable fitness trackers and the sophisticated workout gadgets that only the most hardcore athletes can afford. As the more affordable version of the Polar V800, a serious sports watch for those really into fitness, you get almost as much of the tracking capabilities and functionality with only a fraction of the price. What they sacrificed wasn’t internal tracking, but rather syncing with a dozen different accessories and other monitors that even dedicated gym junkies don’t use.

While functionality and features look to be completely on point, how does the Polar M400 stack up in the increasingly crowded world of fitness tracker-sports watch hybrids?

Design

The first thing you will notice about the Polar M400 from the pictures is that it kind of looks like a sports watch would have looked like in the 1980s when everything was bigger and bulkier. However, the pictures actually lie. The Polar M400 doesn’t take a great photo because that large display screen makes it look like it sits like a lump on the wrist when, in reality, it is quite thin. It actually ends up more unobtrusive on the wrist than many other GPS-enabled trackers these days.

The screen itself could have benefited from less labeling that gives it a bit of a Casio-esque look and takes away from the display. As for a display itself, the 128 by 128 pixel, 3mm screen could also benefit from not only a touch of color every now and then, but less of the cheesy graphics. Clearly if you are cycling, you know you are doing it and you don’t need the like cyclist on the screen to remind you. Thankfully, most of the time the Polar M400 sticks to the numbers, which is the bit we want to see and the bit that actually looks fine on a black and white screen. It even features not only backlighting so you can see it in the late evening, but you can easily read the screen in direct sunlight too.

The rest of the watch’s interface is fairly straight-forward. It comes with five buttons (up, down, select, back, and the light) on the side and they are not so compact that you have trouble hitting them, but they also are built so they are hard to trigger accidentally as well.On the flipside of the display also sits the micro-USB charging port which is covered by a flap, but even without the flap it is water resistant of up to 30m.

Finally, as for the band itself, there is nothing particularly groundbreaking about it. It is made out of the same polymer of other fitness tracking bands so you get that nice flexibility, but it also feels decently sturdy. The M400 comes with the standard watch clasp which makes for a nice snug fit and so that you don’t have to physical cut and measure the band like some other Polar models

Features

If the Polar M400 was just a fitness tracker, it would be rather unremarkable. However, while it can do much of what fitness trackers do, it also has the great added benefit of being an activity tracker as well.

True to a fitness tracker, you wear the Polar M400 all the time and it tracks your steps, calories burned, how many flights of stairs you climbed, and your sleep. However, unlike many fitness trackers, you don’t need to tell it when you have gone to sleep, it knows. It also senses when you have been inactive for too long and sends an alert to both your phone and your app. It also guilts you in to moving since if you don’t do so within the time limit, it leaves a bad mark in your daily diary.

All of this data is sent into the app, but you can also read it just as easily from the watch interface. The benefit of checking the app is to really see the long-term statistics after daily use so you can make adjustments accordingly. However, while the app is nice, it often feels like it doesn’t go deep enough. There isn’t much reason to check it more than every few days.

All that is pretty standard, but when you press the center button on the Polar M400, that is where it really shines. From the menu, you choose an activity, press start, and the built-in GPS signal from the watch logs you until you stop. Why is this so special? This feature allows you to get the most accurate calorie readings on your body as well as track routes and other metrics in the app. Since the Polar M400 takes things like height, weight, and gender into consideration, it easily gives the most accurate calories-burned estimates of any fitness tracker

The one downside of this? You need to have the Bluetooth HRM strap in order to get those beautiful accurate calorie readings. The fact that Polar, a company that makes heart rate monitors, wearable ones at that, comes with GPS, but not a built-in heart rate monitor is almost kind of insulting. While you won’t get the same accurate calorie count, you will still get activity-specific metrics like how many laps you swam or how far and fast you ran, which is nice, but it still feels like you are getting half a product.

Finally, the battery life is a major boon considering that so many screened, GPS-enabled models can drain down so fast. If you are using the GPS non-stop, you have about eight hours of battery life. However, without ever turning the GPS on, you have a very solid 24 days on one charge. For people that go for long or multiple runs, swims, or cycles per day, the battery might need daily charging. However, as a fitness bracelet, it has some superior battery life to it.

Conclusion

If you are going to throw down the cash to get a fitness tracker-sports watch hybrid these days, there are some things you expect. Once you get above a certain price range, you expect heart rate monitoring and GPS. What you shouldn’t expect is to buy an accessory for one feature to work. That is the real major pitfall of the Polar M400.

It is a great fitness tracker, and it could have been an amazing one if you didn’t have to throw down extra money to make it complete. It is likely the external chest strap makes it so it can get its extremely accurate readings from the way it sits on the body, but even without it this fitness tracker would still likely get it pretty close.

How Does a Fitness Tracker Work?

How Does a Fitness Tracker Work?

How Does A Fitness Tracker Work?

In the past five years, fitness trackers have become increasingly popular with consumers. It seems that new models with improved features are released frequently while prices continue to fall. Most fitness trackers tout the ability to help users lose weight and improve their overall health by counting the number of steps taken and calories burned in a day. Many even measure the user’s heartrate in real time and claim to track both quantity and quality of sleep. But many users and potential buyers are left wondering, “How does a fitness tracker work?” and “How accurate are they?”

How Does the Technology Behind Fitness Trackers Work?

Simply put, fitness trackers work by using a variety of tools to gather data about your movements and your body combined with algorithms to interpret this data. The specific technology used to gather this data and the algorithms used to interpret it vary by manufacturer and even model, which means that two different trackers may give you different numbers.

Although manufacturers and models can vary, fitness trackers work by measuring motion. Most employ a 3-axis accelerometer that measures movement in every direction, while some include a gyroscope to measure rotation and orientation. Many include an altimeter to measure altitude; this allows the device to measure how many stairs you’ve climbed in a day or the height of a mountain you’ve hiked.

Some models include temperature sensors and sensors to measure your heartrate. Some include sensors to measure your sleep patterns by tracking your wrist movements.

These multiple sensors then measure such variables as frequency, acceleration, intensity, duration and patterns of your movements. This vast amount of data is then interpreted using an algorithm specific to the model of fitness tracker to put together meaningful measurements and statistics of your movements and health over time.

How Do Fitness Trackers Work with Smartphones?

Most fitness trackers on the market communicate data to users via a smartphone or other device. Selecting a fitness tracker that is right for you may depend, at least to some degree, on your choice of phone and the apps that are compatible with a particular device. Most fitness trackers sync automatically and easily with iPhones and Android phones. You may have trouble, however, if you use a Windows phone. Most fitness trackers have their own apps, and this is the place where you access the data that has been gathered and interpreted by the tracker. Some trackers go a step further, however, and are compatible with other apps on the market, apps that you may already use and love.

How Accurate Are Fitness Trackers?

Because the sensors and algorithms vary by manufacturer and even model, it sometimes happens that two different fitness trackers may yield different results. This suggests that while fitness trackers may give you a good overview of your movements, the data gathered and how it is interpreted may not be completely accurate all the time.

How Accurate are Fitness Trackers When Measuring Steps?

Knowing that measurements and data can vary from tracker to tracker, you may be wondering just how accurate are they when measuring steps. Most trackers are generally reliable when counting steps taken during the day. The technology has improved over the past couple of years, and newer trackers are generally quite reliable. They “know” when to dismiss a small movement of the wrist, such as when you are typing or playing a video game, and not count it as a step. Only larger movements count. However, some activities, such as a particularly bumpy car ride, may register as steps due to the amount of movement, while walking softly across very thick carpet may not register at all. Fitness trackers are fairly reliable at counting your daily steps, but they are certainly not infallible.

How Accurate Are Fitness Trackers when Measuring Calories?

Many users opt for fitness trackers because they are trying to better manage their weight. This may lead you to ask, “How accurate are they when measuring calories?” The answer to this question depends in part on you, the user. When measuring calories burned during a particular activity, a tracker’s algorithm needs information about age, weight, height and gender. These variables factor into the determination of how many calories are burned during a particular activity or across a day or an entire week. If you as a user do not input correct information, you should not expect your tracker to be able to provide an accurate reading. This means that you need to update your information as these variables change: you age or you lose weight, for example. When tracking the calories you burn, some trackers measure not only movement but also heart rate and perspiration. This means that you likely get more accurate data from trackers that include these options.

How Accurate Are Fitness Trackers when Measuring Sleep and Sleep Patterns?

While most fitness trackers are reasonably accurate when measuring steps taken and calories burned, some users continue to wonder, “How accurate are they when measuring sleep?” Many brands make claims that their trackers can measure not only how much you sleep but how much time you spend in each stage of your sleep cycle. Many experts, however, question the accuracy of the sleep measurements provided by many fitness trackers. Most trackers use accelerometers, the same sensors that track movement, to track when you are asleep. Basically, if the accelerometer is registering very little or no movement, that is interpreted as the user being in a sleep state. Some trackers even claim to measure various stages of sleep, how much time is spent in each stage, whether the sleeper is restless and how many times the sleeper wakes. Many experts caution users about trusting the accuracy of these measurements. Especially trackers of individuals with sleep disorders seem to return data that just isn’t accurate.

How Do Fitness Trackers Measure Swimming?

While many consumers use fitness trackers as fairly accurate pedometers, swimmers may wonder, “How do fitness trackers measure swimming?” Fitness trackers measure swimming much as they do any other activity—walking, running or hiking—by measuring movement and the rate of movement. Heart rates may also be measured, giving an indication of how many calories are burned. When using fitness trackers for swimming, however, it’s imperative that a tracker be waterproof, not just water resistant, and able to withstand an appropriate amount of water pressure. In fact, there are a number of fitness trackers designed specifically for swimmers. Some of these can measure rate and distance and even stroke type. Serious swimmers may want to consider a fitness tracker designed for their specific needs.

What Are Some of the Benefits and Characteristics of a Fitness Tracker Designed Specifically for Swimmers?

A number of fitness trackers are available that are designed with swimmers in mind. These are waterproof and engineered to withstand water pressure. Moov Now is one of the more useful swimming fitness trackers available, with a number of options other trackers simply do not have. Moov Now gives you useful data on your swimming but, unlike other fitness trackers, works as a virtual swimming coach, offering data and information to help you improve your swimming. Recently, Moov Now has added a smartphone app dedicated specifically to swimming which you activate before entering the pool. You’ll receive feedback on your rate, distance, stroke type, efficiency, lap times and an overall measure of your stamina. For monitoring your heartrate while swimming, Moov Now offers a small device to be worn inside your swim cap. This may very well be the best waterproof fitness tracker.

Is Moov Now Only for Swimming?

No, Moov Now is an excellent fitness tracker for many activities: walking, running, cycling and any other activities you choose. Although the Moov Now does not have as large a market share as many of the big name fitness trackers, such as the FitBit, it offers convenience and features that many others do not. The design and sizing make it particularly comfortable, especially as it needs to be worn around the ankle for running and biking, and it offers a battery that can last up to six months on a single charge.

In addition to simply gathering and data, the Moov Now operates as a virtual coach. This feature sets it apart from many other fitness trackers on the market. Runners, for example, can choose from among a variety of training plans, and a voice feature coaches runners in real time. This sets Moov Now apart from the pack of the many fitness trackers available.

Fitness Trackers Will Continue to Thrive

As technology advances, so will fitness trackers. Many consumers choose fitness trackers to monitor the number of steps they take each day, how many calories they burn and how well they sleep. Although each tracker is a bit different, there is certainly a choice to fit the preferences, both in terms of data and design, for nearly any user. We can expect this trend to continue. Understanding how do fitness trackers work can help you choose the tracker that best suits your needs.

Waterproof Fitness Trackers For Swimmers

Waterproof Fitness Trackers For Swimmers

Fitness trackers in one form or another have been around for a few years now, with manufacturers trying to outdo each other through innovation and new technology. Until relatively recently, little of this effort was focused on creating fitness trackers that you can swim with. Now that is starting to changewat. There is a bewildering amount waterproof fitness trackers for swimmers to suit all budgets, tastes and needs. To help you make sense of it all, we have compiled a list of questions and options to help you narrow down the options and select a fitness tracker that tracks swimming.

Waterproof or water resistant?
Definitely waterproof.

If you are serious about using a tracker in the pool or ocean this is the first question you need to ask. Understanding the difference between waterproof and water resistant is a really important factor in making sure your tracker survives your swimming workout.  Ensuring your chosen tracker has an ATM rating of at least 10 should be enough.

Are you looking to track mostly swimming or several activities including swimming?
If you are looking to track several activities you want to look towards a more general purpose fitness tracker like the Moov Now that can keep tabs on lots of different exercises.

Otherwise, there are several waterproof fitness trackers that have been devised specifically with swimming in mind such as the Garmin Swim that provide a variety of metrics specifically tailored to fully track your time in the water.

Do you want to track open water swimming?
A device with GPS is a must as that is the only reliable way to track how far you swam. Trackers without GPS generally allow you to specify the length of the pool  and match that with data from the accelerometer to calculate the number of lengths completed in your workout. Even if you do get a watch with GPS there is a chance it could lose signal when it goes underwater. A way round this is to put your tracker in your swimming hat.

Do you like to see your tracking statistics whilst in the water?
Stats junkies will want a device with a display to their metrics whilst swimming. Otherwise, techniques like LED lights or a download to your phone allow you to get your workout details after your swim.

Why do I need a fitness tracker for swimming?
The honest answer is you don’t. Using the poolside clock and counting lengths can be just as effective, until you get distracted and lose count. Enter the waterproof fitness tracker. Ideal for tracking your progress over extended periods of time. By setting yourself goals and monitoring your progress over time you can see how much you have improved. An ideal complement to a swimming workout programme.

Can’t I just use my Fitbit?

Unfortunately, the majority of Fitbits are water resistant, they will survive an occasional splash of water but a spell in the pool will send your tracker to the swimming gadget graveyard. To redress the balance, Fitbit recently introduced the first ever official Fitbit fitness tracker for swimming, the Flex 2.

What are the benefits of swimming?
Requiring minimal equipment, swimming is one of the best all round exercises to incorporate into a fitness plan and is well known for being beneficial to both physical and mental wellbeing.

Physically, a swim makes use of all major muscle groups giving your entire body a workout, in turn leading to increased toning and better cardiovascular health. In fact, research has shown that the non weight bearing nature of swimming can be used to great effect to alleviate conditions such as fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis, arthritis and back pain.

Like most forms of exercise going for a swim releases endorphins, feel good chemicals that put you in a better frame of mind and help you feel refreshed. It also forces you to breathe more rhythmically at the same time as stretching and relaxing muscles, which is often cited as a great way to reduce anxiety or depression.

What stats can I get from my swimming tracker?
Of course, this depends on which waterproof fitness tracker you choose and how serious you are about your swimming. We have listed a few of the  most common measurements:-

  • Lap count
  • SWOLF – short for swimming golf. It is the result of the time it takes to complete one length added to the number of strokes to complete it. So for example a time of 45 seconds and 15 strokes would results in a SWOLF score of 60. Of course, the aim is to reduce this score a bit like taking less shots in golf.
  • Pace
  • Turn speeds
  • Stroke types
  • Calorie counts

Waterproof fitness trackers for swimmers: the options

Apple Watch Series 2

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The Apple Watch Series 2 is the product of applying the lessons learnt from its predecessor. The result is a new with GPS functionality and water resistance up to 50 metres it is better equipped as a fitness tracker, great news for runners and swimmers.

As you would expect from Apple, it looks good. The watch comes in a variety of different models and can be customised with different bands so that it wouldn’t look out of place being worn on your wrist all day.

It is clear that a lot of time has gone into making the Apple watch waterproof with new seals and some ingenious innovation making it possible to take your watch for a swim or shower. Whilst swimming, you can raise your arm to view your figures but the touch screen will not respond reducing the possibility of electrical faults. As soon as you have finished your workout you can spin the crown which will wake the watch and expel the water via the speaker, quite an ingenious method of keeping the watch in working order.

Using the Workout app you can select “Pool Swim” or “Open Water Swim” each of which will lock and blank the screen and start to track your lengths, stroke type and calories burned. If the Workout app doesn’t give you what you need it also possible to install the swim.com app to benefit from more advanced functionality.

Overall, the [easyazon_link identifier=”B00WUKULAC” locale=”US” tag=”tracker-showdown-20″ popups=”n”]Apple Watch Series 2[/easyazon_link] is a versatile waterproof fitness tracker if you have a sizeable budget to spend. It would be a good choice for someone that is already heavily invested in the Apple ecosystem or is attracted to Apple devices.

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Fitbit Flex 2

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Designed as a multi-activity fitness tracker the Fitbit Flex 2 does the basics and does them well. For the first truly waterproof Fitbit tracker it is a respectable offering. However, as it is trying to cover many activities it only has simple swimming metrics and is more likely to suit someone who will be swimming amongst other activities.

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Garmin Fenix 3

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The Garmin Fenix 3 is renowned as one of the best sports watches out there. Its rugged hard wearing design is aimed at a target market of outdoor enthusiasts. As Garmin have included a large array of sensors you can track a multitude of activities, swimming, cycling, hiking, open water swimming and probably anything else you can think of. Of course, this means that it is not a dedicated swimming watch. It is a smart watch with activity tracking features, including the ability to download apps, receive smartphone notifications and different watch faces.

For swimming, the Fenix 3 has indoor and outdoor modes that record stroke count, intervals, distance, pace and time. When used in the pool it also counts lengths, detects stroke type and computes the user’s SWOLF score.

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Garmin Swim

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The Garmin Swim is a dedicated device which gets a lot of love from serious swimmers. As it is designed for swimming, you just look at the watch and at a glance can see distance, pace and time in the pool. Post swim, you can use the data from the tracker in Garmin Connect app to slice and dice your swim in as many ways as you can think of. You can even use the app to join swim groups and compare your times to others.

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Garmin Forerunner 920 XT

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The Forerunner 920XT is a serious watch with a sizeable price tag to match. Rated as waterproof up to 50 metres it can be used to track indoor and outdoor swimming.
In the pool, it can be used to track lengths, stroke, total distance, SWOLF and stroke recognition. This can be taken even further by paring the 920 with the [easyazon_link identifier=”B012H8IRLQ” locale=”US” tag=”tracker-showdown-20″ localize=”y”]Garmin Swim HRM[/easyazon_link].

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Garmin Vivoactive HR

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The Garmin Vivoactive HR is a true sports watch, equipped with 24/7 heart rate monitoring, GPS and multi-sport tracking. It can track cycling swimming, running, even golf. Swimming wise, it is water resistant to 50 metres and can track lengths, strokes and stroke type, SWOLF and intervals with the ability to pause and resume your workouts. Like a lot of trackers the optical heart rate monitor will struggle to work in the water so it will need to be paired with a Garmin swim chest strap.

Being such a monster it is a little on the bulky side but not to the point of being too ugly. The watch is continuously monitoring and uses the data to calculate if you have started an activity and switches mode automatically. The Vivoactive HR+ can also be customised to an incredible degree including controlling what you see on the Garmin Chroma display.

If you are a sports nut then this will probably be the watch for you. Otherwise, the price tag and too many features will probably mean there are better options available.

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iHealth Wave

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Pleasing to look at the iHealth Wave is an activity tracker designed to monitor daily activity, swimming and sleep. It will automatically detect swimming and track the following metrics:- number of lengths, duration, calories burned and which strokes you used. Relevant stats will be displayed on the screen and you can flick through the various options using a flick of the wrist removing the need for buttons.

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 Misfit Speedo Shine 2

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The Misfit Speedo Shine 2 is effectively a Misfit Shine 2 where Speedo have assisted in developing the technology of accurate lap counting to create a fitness tracker that is waterproof up to 50 metres and designed specifically with swimming in mind.

Design wise, it is lightweight, small in stature and looks great. The tracker unit works off a watch battery so doesn’t require daily charging and can be worn anywhere on your body by using a strap, clasp or necklace.

As well as swimming it keeps track of all your daily activities including sleep, walking and running. Great news if you do water aerobics and laps in the pool.Unsurprisingly, the Misfit Speedo Shine 2 offers great swimming functionality including the ability to track swim distance, stroke type and calories burned. These can be tracker using the Speedo Fit app or Misfit app which are both compatible.

The unit makes use of multi colour LEDs and vibration alarms to keep you on track with your daily targets, an example of which is the countdown swim timer mode which will vibrate the tracker when the workout is complete.

In addition, the Shine 2 offers a few other features you might not expect from a waterproof fitness tracker of its size. These include silent alarms, smart phone notifications and the ability to connect to Internet of Things devices using the Misfit Link, allowing you to do cool things such as use the device as a remote control for your smart lights.

Overall, a simplistic swimming watch that offers some decent functionality in a stylish case. Some people may experience issues with the strap not being as secure as they would like.

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Mio Alpha 2

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The Mio Alpha 2 is probably best thought of as a heart rate monitor watch. The fact hat it can track your activity and also measure your heart rate without the use of a strap makes it a popular choice amongst swimmers, however the company don’t guarantee the accuracy of the heart rate monitor in the water. The device is quite large so probably not to everyone’s taste but makes up for it by being water resistant up to 30 metres.

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Moov Now

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The Moov Now is unusual in that it is a fitness tracker but it is probably better thought of as a fitness coach. For swimming, there is no visual feedback whilst you are in the pool and it does not automatically track swimming. You have to activate swimming mode on your mobile which will free up space to record up to 2 hours of swimming activity.

The data provided by the Moov Now for swimming is calories, turn time, stroke rate and stroke count. Following the coaching model it will automatically detect which stroke you are using and give you feedback on how to increase your distance per stroke to hopefully improve your performance.

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Polar A360

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Whilst the Polar A360 can be used as a fitness tracker for swimming it is definitely not a swimming watch. It is waterproof up to 30 metres but the lack of lap or stroke counters means you only get the most basic swimming metrics, and using the optical heart rate monitor and touch screen in the water may work but can be unreliable. Overall, this is a good purchase if you want an activity tracker that is waterproof.

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Polar V800

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Designed for the serious athlete with a more substantial price tag to match the Polar V800 is what is known as a multi-sports watch. For swimming, it offers a customisable display and it can be used for pool and open water swimming, the latter making use of the on-board GPS to measure distance.

As you would expect from such an advanced swimming gadget the number of metrics is impressive: SWOLF, stroke recognition, workout duration and calories burned are just a start. If that still isn’t enough for you, using the V800 with a [easyazon_link identifier=”B00FZX9CW4″ locale=”US” tag=”tracker-showdown-20″ localize=”y” popups=”n”]chest worn heart rate strap[/easyazon_link] will make use of Polar’s propietary Gymlink transmission technology and measure your heart rate whilst you swim.

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Polar Loop 2

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The Polar Loop 2 is a lightweight, fun fitness tracker which is waterproof up to 20 metres. Designed as a wrist band there are a variety of colours and it  makes use of 85 LEDs to display the key stats like steps taken, current time and calories burned.  As you can imagine with such a limited display you will get the best from this device by hooking it up to the Polar Flow app which provides a wealth of information.

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Tom Tom Multi Sport GPS Watch

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The Tom Tom is starting to show its age and newer trackers are starting to put it in the shade. That being said it is no slouch. There is a screen which can be customised to show all your key metrics and it will track the distance you swim by dividing the number of strokes taken by the length of the pool that you entered.

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Suunto Aambit 3

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The Suunto Aambit 3 is another offering in the multi activity watch stable. It can be used for running, cycling and swimming with excellent swim tracking functionality, making it a great choice for triathletes.

A problem for a lot of fitness trackers for swimming face is how to recognise your swimming strokes, relying on pre determined algorithms. The Aambit cleverly solves this problems by allowing you to teach it to recognise your stroke, resulting in more accurate results.

The Suunto Aambit 3 is also great for open water swimming and reads your heart rate. The display is clear and can be customised to display the metrics you are interested in. Once you have completed a workout you can upload to Suunto app, which is good but not as polished as those from Polar and Garmin.

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TomTom Spark Cardio + music

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Not the most visually appealing tracker but a great choice for those who are into doing lots of sports. In addition to GPS and heart rate monitoring you can upload 3GB of music to the built in storage and listen to it via bluetooth headphones. Great news for those that dislike carrying around multiple gadgets. Unfortunately, even with the GPS it doesn’t record open water swimming.
Unlike other devices the Spark doesn’t automatically recognise swimming which has to be manually selected  so that all the correct settings can be applied. A little inconvenience which is overcome by the advanced features of the swimming tracking. The TomTom Spark allows you to track average speed, time in water, lengths, SWOLF, strokes and calories burnt.

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Withings Activité Pop

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Looking more like an old school watch than an activity tracker the Activité Pop would suit anyone looking for a device to replace a wrist watch that they can wear all day. The face has traditional analogue hands and a secondary dial which shows you your current percentage of progress towards your daily goal.

With no facility for heart rate monitoring or smartphone notifications the device itself is limited in what you can do. It falls into the category of trackers that record activity for later upload into an app, allowing you to do further analysis and configuration like setting up alarms.

For swimming, the Activité Pop offers very basic tracking so will appeal more to the casual swimmer. As soon as it detects 10 minutes of continuous pool time, it will start to track automatically. Some reviews state that this can be a bit hit and miss and as the manufacturer has calibrated the watch to pools of 25 or 50 metres, other pool sizes may offer inaccurate readings.

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Fitness Trackers That Play Music

Apple Watch Series 2 vs Samsung Gear S3

Those into fitness trackers know the big names like FitBit and Jawbone, but even those that have no idea what a fitness tracker does know the names of Apple and Samsung. Both companies are the pinnacle when it comes to the high profile manufacture of smartwatches with fitness tracking abilities like the Samsung Gear S3 and Apple Watch Series 2.

Yet, the question still stands. Which smart watch is better? Did Apple finally get things right with the Apple Watch Series 2 or does the Samsung Gear S3continue its feature-laden streak of victory in the market?

Design and Display

When comparing the Apple Watch Series 2 and the Samsung Gear S3, which design wins out is probably best left up to preference. As you would expect from multi-billion dollar companies, the designs are both beautiful. The Apple Watch Series 2 is smaller and lighter compared to the Gear, but it takes a sleek modern route in its design. However the Gear S3 goes the complete opposite direction and features a design that could easily be mistaken for an expensive wristwatch.

Apple Watch 2Samsung Gear S3

For as great as the Apple Watch’s display is, that victory will have to go to the Gear S3. A number of fitness trackers feature that crisp OLED Retina display that is given a vibrant edge through the use of color like the Apple Watch. However, it is not every day that you see what, at a glance, appears to be a classic wristwatch transform into a GPS map the next. What the Gear S3 can and does display is something that truly shows how visibly powerful the AMOLED screen is and why the bigger size was a necessary choice.

However, in terms of usability, while they both have touch screen functionality, for the most part you use the bezel on the Gear and the crown on the Apple Watch to flick through apps. This is a great alternative to the all touch screen functionality that damages the screen more often than not.

Features

In terms of features and sensors, the Apple Watch and the Gear S3 go toe-to-toe. The Gear S3 has built-in GPS, an accelerometer, a heart rate sensor, altimeter, barometer, and a gyroscope. This is basically everything you would get with other Samsung fitness trackers like the Samsung Gear Fit2, but without the beautiful interface, enhanced interconnectivity with your phone, and built-in speaker.

Alternatively, the Apple Watch Series 2 features an accelerometer, built-in GPS that is supposedly “instant”, gyroscope, and heart rate monitor. It lacks some of the other tools like altimeter and barometer, but both are excellent choices for fitness.

However, if you are a swimmer, Apple is the easy choice. Not only can the Apple Watch track indoor and outdoor swimming (the Gear S3 has no such function), but it is water resistant up to 165 feet. The Gear S3 can only withstand five feet of water for about 30 minutes.

Compatibility

When it comes to compatibility with various apps, both fitness and otherwise, both smart watches excel. However, as it typical with Apple products, the Apple Watch Series 2 still comes with one fatal flaw – you can’t use it with Android phones. The Samsung Gear S3 is compatible with both Android and iOS, meaning that no matter what phone you have, this watch will likely work with it, older models notwithstanding.

No one should have to get a new phone just to go with their smart watch.

Battery

To be honest, the battery life on both models is terrible. The Apple Watch takes an honest route and estimates around 18 hours while the Gear S3 estimates around four days, but that is only with the always-on function turned off.In truth, the battery lasts closer to about two days. However, since the Gear S3 is always-on and the Apple Watch is not, the fact that they have such comparable batteries is actually pretty terrible on Apple’s part.

So Which is Better?

Both the Apple Watch Series 2 and the Samsung Gear S3 have their advantages just as sure as they have their downfalls. While the Samsung Gear S3 looks to be the winner with its beautiful display, number of fitness features, and the fact that you can use it with both Android and iPhones, it does lack majorly in battery life, water resistance, and a nice small size on the wrist.

Similarly, the Apple Watch Series 2 is small, light, has a colorful display, and it the best choice for swimmers. However, it has a dismal battery life and can only be used with iPhones.

If none of the failings of either smart watch are deal breakers, then it ultimately comes down to what you want the watch to do, and which style you want around your wrist.

Fitbit Flex 2 (Review)

Fitbit Flex 2 (Review)

Fitbit are probably the most recognizable brand name in the wearable fitness tracker game and have produced models to meet most needs. However, it seems strange that they have never produced a genuine Fitbit for swimming. Until now. The Fitbit Flex 2 is the successor to the hugely successful Flex, with the added bonus of it being waterproof so that you can swim or shower whilst wearing it.

Design

Fitbit Flex 2 Fitness Tracker

As the Flex 2’s tracking module is 30 percent smaller than their other products, the Flex 2 sits small and thin on the wrist. This is a nice change of pace for people that want to wear their fitness tracker for comfort and purpose rather than as a fashion statement.

However, that extra size was shaved off by removing the display from the device, helping give the Fitbit Flex 2 an extra dimension; waterproofing. Aesthetically, the out of the box design is functional. Luckily, the modular approach allows you to camouflage your fitness tracker in a design that is slightly more appealing, like a bangle.

You will need to spend the extra money to find a band design for the tracker you like and there are plenty of options available including pedants, necklaces and different colors of band via third party sellers or Amazon. Without a screen, you’d never guess it was a fitness tracker at a glance. However, one of the best innovations to the design of the new Flex 2 is the clasp.

In Fitbits, the clasp has always been where the product lost some points because it never felt like the bracelet would stay in place. However, because this is a model for swimmers, they either had to change their clasp style or release a bad product because water rushing under a loose bracelet on the wrist would greatly affect the accuracy of a number of the tracking features while in the water. This time around, they added a clasp that keeps things tight to the wrist. Once it is on, good luck trying to yank it off. It is this innovation that we hope makes it to the bands of other Fitbit models because it is snug, yet comfortable. However, the clasp can make it a bit of a challenge if you want to get it off quickly.

Features of the Fitbit Flex 2

The biggest advance in the Fitbit Flex 2 is full waterproofing and swim tracking capabilities. It is approved for depths up to 50 meters, which includes saltwater use. This also means that even non-swimmers don’t have to worry about hopping in the shower and ruining their expensive fitness tracker.

Whilst there are other swim-tracking fitness trackers available that give you a lot more focused metrics specific to the pool, the Fitbit Flex 2 still does a decent job of measuring your swim. It can give you an overview of how many calories you burned swimming, how long you swam for, distance, pace, and stroke monitoring for freestyle, breaststroke, backstroke, and butterfly swimming. All great stats to monitor if you like to keep track of if your swimming is improving.

On the downside, the SmartTrack feature of the Flex 2 has issues tracking your strokes if like me you are not a strong swimmer. As the tracker requires continuous motion to track effectively you will still get accurate calories burned, time, and distance, but the strokes count maybe a little bit out.

While the new swim functionality is the major selling point of the Fitbit Flex 2, unless you are a mermaid (or merman), you will be using the Flex 2 for more than just tracking your swimming. The lack of a display means you can’t visually see your numbers or even tell the time on the Flex 2. Instead it goes back to the original Fitbit design by showing your progress in a series of LED lights. Each light that is lit up represents a portion of whatever your daily step goal is. A neat simple and effective way of showing your progress.

To communicate to you, the Flex 2 use its lights and a series of vibrations that seem like they would be easily differentiated, but aren’t. However, the fact that it only vibrates when you achieve a goal or receive a phone call or text isn’t really an issue as it is easier to tell the difference by looking at the color of the LEDs.

It’s easier to remember that blue stands for calls or text rather than trying to feel out how long the vibration was.

The LED display model limits the amount of information you can see, but you can easily open the great tracking app on your phone to get more specific numbers and plan the rest of your day accordingly. One of the more awesome new features that come with the app that was included in the release of the Flex 2 as well as the Charge 2 is something called Adventures.

Adventures are basically challenges that can motivate you to go further and do better. For example, if you want to hike a particular trail in your nearby National Park, the app finds out how many steps it takes to walk that. So if the trail takes 15,000 steps and you walked 15,000 steps that day, it feels like you walked that trail just going about your day. You can even challenge multi-day trails like Hadrian’s Wall or the Appalachian Trail for long-term challenges. It is a pretty fun motivational tool if nothing else.

Aside from its new motivational tool, the app comes with all the standard features that you would expect. It tracks your calories, steps, distance, and sleep tracking like other models and provides you a wide array of metrics so you can view and compare your data over the days, weeks, and months however you would like and adjust your goals accordingly.

Finally, let’s discuss the battery. You would think that the lack of a screen and the use of only connect GPS would extend the battery life, but it seems this isn’t the case with only a five-day battery life. If you are used to wearing screened models, this is pretty much the standard. However, with the lack of what are referred to as “power drain” features, that much battery life is a lot less than you would expect.

Xiaomi Mi Band 2 Activity Tracker (Review)

Xiaomi Mi Band 2 Activity Tracker (Review)

The original Mi Bands by Xiaomi were the type of fitness trackers you couldn’t really say no to. They lacked a lot of the extra features that the high-end models have, but they were so affordable that it wasn’t really a problem. However, the problem became that other fitness trackers, the ones that had a number of other features, began to get cheaper. That is when Xiaomi introduced the Xiaomi Mi Band 2 Activity Tracker, which not only came with a small increase in price, but all the features that would make it competitive. While it is the most expensive Xiaomi fitness tracker. it is still one of the most affordable waterproof fitness trackers on the market.

Design

Xiaomi Mi Band 2 Activity Tracker

In terms of design, the Mi Band 2 keeps things simple with a basic all-black design, although you have the option to change out the bands for other colors. The band itself frames the small screen in silicone that not only keeps it from being damaged from sweat, but likely lends to its IPX7 waterproof rating, meaning you can keep this sweet little wristband submerged for up to 30 minutes if you want to.

The screen itself is a small scratch-resistant OLED affair. If you demand absolute crispness in your display, this probably isn’t the fitness tracker for you. The picture is slightly blurry, but as it only displays the time, your steps, how many calories you burned, and your heart rate, you will never find it hard to read.

While the display is supposed to turn on automatically when it detects an increase in heart rate, it also comes with a small touch button on the screen so you can turn it on and flip through all the display functions.

Features of the Xiaomi Mi Band 2 Activity Tracker

For features, the Xiaomi Mi Band 2 has most of the function of all those other overpriced models, and does them fairly well. Not only does it track your steps, but it also has accurate sleep tracking, heart rate monitoring, and has the ability to recognize when you stop taking a leisurely stroll and start running.

While it doesn’t track the distance you walk over a period of time, it does connect to your phone via Bluetooth where it can show you incoming calls or notify you when you have a new message. It also syncs up with the Mi Fit app in which it stores your statistics on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis. However, the app is pretty basic and the Mi Band 2 doesn’t have any connectivity with any third-party apps. Essentially what you can view on Mi Fit’s dashboard is your sleep logs (including waking times), your heart rates and last heart rate streak, calories burned, and steps taken. You will also be able to manually monitor your weight in the app, but it requires you to actually put in each change and that’s kind of useless.

The best part of the Mi Band 2 is actually the battery life. It boasts 20 days of standby, but if you activate Bluetooth and sync it to your phone notifications, that goes down to more like 14 days. However, 14 days on one charge is great. It is way better than your pricier FitBit, anyway.

Overall, the Xiaomi Mi Band 2 Activity Tracker is one of the very rare cases where you get more than you pay for. As one of the most affordable bands on the market, you would expect functionality to still be bare bones like its predecessor. However, while it has some hiccups, you get a product with a number of great features for a price you can’t really say no to.

Waterproof Versus Water Resistant

Waterproof Versus Water Resistant

For most people, they think the terms waterproof and water resistant are used interchangeably. Often many manufacturers do use them as such, but the terms are very different.

Waterproof, as you would imagine, means that a device is completely impervious to water. You could take it in the shower or snorkel with it and it would still keep working as it normally world providing you don’t go past a certain depth.

Water resistant, however, means that you can splash it while washing your hands or get hit by a surprise rain storm and the world isn’t going to end. However, if you submerge it in water for longer than a set period of time, you are going to find a fitness tracker that has stopped tracking.

The problem is that companies don’t always make a clear distinction between waterproof and water resistant. However, thanks to some handy water exposure rating systems, most consumers can figure out for themselves whether a fitness tracker is waterproof or just water resistant.

The Difference Between IPX and ATM Water Ratings

Even if manufacturers aren’t excessively clear on whether their product is waterproof of just water resistant, there is one sure way to figure it out. You just look at the rating. Water resistant products use the IPX scale that covers how much water exposure a product can handle. The ratings run as follows:

  • IPX-0 offers no protection against water whatsoever.
  • IPX-1 protects against dripping from above for up to 10 minutes.
  • IPX-2 protects against dripping from any direction for up to 10 minutes.
  • IPX-3 protects against spraying water from any direction for up to five minutes.
  • IPX-4 offers protection from splashes from any direction for at least five minutes.
  • IPX-5 protects from large sprays, 12.5 liters per minute, from any direction for up to three minutes.
  • IPX-6 offers protection for even larger sprays, 100 liters per minute, from any direction for up to three minutes.
  • IPX-7 allows protection against complete submersion in up to one meter of water for 30 minutes.
  • IPX-8 is the highest grade of water resistance and its specifications are wholly dependent on the manufacturer. If they have tested it in five meters of water and it works for up to 30 minutes, then its IPX-8 rating would be five meters for 30 minutes.

Alternatively, if you are working with true waterproof products, they don’t need an IPX rating, because they can be fully submerged in water. Typically, waterproof products will have an IPX7 or IPX8 rating, because it is a system that more people are familiar with.

However, what you really want to look for is an ATM rating. ATM measures how deep you can expose a device. Essentially, it tells you how much water pressure a fitness tracker can endure. The ATM scale is as such:

  • 1 ATM means a device can withstand a depth of 10 meters
  • 3 ATM means a device can withstand depths of 30 meters
  • 5 ATM means a device can withstand depths of 50 meters
  • 10 ATM means a device can withstand depths of 100 meters

Unlike the IPX system, there are ratings in between the above. You can have an ATM rating of seven, nine, or anything in between. Just add a zero on the end and that is how many meters of water it can endure before the pressure starts to shut the tracker down. Unless you are an avid scuba diver, you won’t ever need more than an ATM of 5.

How Fitness Trackers Make a Product Waterproof

When it comes to both waterproofing and water resistance, it is all about properly sealing the sensitive parts. You know, the ones that conduct electricity. A little water combined with power from a battery won’t usually give you a shock, but it will completely short out your fitness tracker.

For true waterproof fitness trackers, the idea is to fully seal off every nook and cranny that could let water get into the inner workings. This means that the charging ports are sealed by some widget that you need to pry open when charging time comes and the whole package will like be a little blockier due to the extra reinforcement.

Water resistant products, on the other hand, are a little more laissez-faire about waterproofing. The higher the IPX rating, the more you will notice the sealing. Low IPX rated products will likely not have features like a flap to cover the charging port, and if they do, it remains relatively easy to open. The idea is that the water with evaporate or be dried off before it has time to fully permeate all the fitness tracker’s sensitive bits.

So why not waterproof every fitness tracker? Well, typically companies will at least sweat-proof a product, but going the extra mile to full waterproofing is just extra cost to the manufacturer. Unless the fitness tracker comes with swim tracking, most manufacturers don’t really see a point.

7 Ways Fitness Trackers Lead to a Better You

7 Ways Fitness Trackers Lead to a Better You

Fitness trackers are lauded for their ability to motivate you with cold, hard numbers towards better health. This, in turn, challenges you to live a more active and healthier life. Yet, a fitness tracker does nothing at all. Everything that makes it so great… Well, that is literally all up in your head. The greatest boon of wearing a fitness tracker each day is the effect that it has on your psychology. Strapping on a fitness tracker is such a simple act, but it can be the first act that leads to a better version of yourself.

Use fitness trackers to meet your 10,000 step goal

1) A Fitness Tracker is Nothing Without You

A fitness tracker on its own does nothing to change you. If you have a mild curiosity on how many steps you take per day or want to see how many calories you burn just by sitting on the couch, there are cheaper ways to find out. However, by purchasing a fitness tracker, you are making a commitment to better yourself. A fitness tracker does nothing if you don’t first put the effort into getting up and taking the first step of your 10,000 daily step goal.

2) Fitness Trackers Reinforce That Fitness is About You Not Anyone Else

While at the gym, wearing a fitness tracker is kind of like entering into a sacred society of people dedicated to fitness, what a fitness tracker really says is that you are doing this for you. Fitness should always be about you. It should be about the changes you want to see in yourself and not about the changes that others want to see in you. As only you have access to your fitness data, not counting any social media sharing functions in the app, this means that only you know how much progress you are making.

While the world can benefit from taking others into consideration, the world of fitness should always be all about you.

3) Fitness Trackers Encourage Goal Setting

Fitness tracker goal settingIf you want to walk a path to a better you, then that path starts with a laid out route on how to get there. Goals, both big and small, short-term and long-term, are the ultimate way to get there. Think about the last time you set a small goal for yourself and reached it. It probably felt pretty good. Reaching a long-term goal feels even better, and that is the essence of how a fitness tracker motivates you.

Many fitness trackers come with automatic goal settings to challenge you without any effort on your part. For example, if you took 5,000 steps the day before, your fitness tracker might up the goal the next day to 5,500 steps. If you fail to achieve it, the goal remains. However, if you get sick of looking at it and put in the extra effort to reaching that goal, you not only get the satisfaction of besting your little piece of wearable tech, but you have taken an extra 500 steps towards becoming a better, healthier you.

4) Fitness Tracker Remind You to Get Up and Move

Man working out in the gymEven if you are putting the extra effort to reach your small time fitness goals by taking the stairs instead of the elevator or walking to lunch instead of taking a cab, that doesn’t mean you can just sit all day and become healthy by exercising only every now and then. They say sitting all day is detrimental to your health, but a person has to work. That is where fitness trackers come in handy.

Many models of fitness trackers can recognize when you have been stationary for a period of time throughout the day. As such, when they recognize this, they start to vibrate on your wrist to remind you that it is time to get up and move. While this function can be disabled in most models, it is just one of the many ways a fitness tracker can lead to a better you.

Taking a break to go for even a short stroll around the office not only helps your overall help, but it increases focus better than a cup of coffee. Getting the heart pumping a little faster and the blood flowing back into your legs increases your overall comfort and gives you a break to recommit yourself to your works tasks.

5) Fitness Becomes Addicting

Anything that makes you feel good has the prospect of becoming an addiction. While we tend to focus on all the harmful things that become addictions, there are good things to be addicted to out there as well. When you exercise, it releases chemicals called endorphins that interact with receptors in your brain to limit the perception of pain. Essentially they give you a little bit of a euphoric feel, which is why “runner’s high” is a literal high.

Anything that releases endorphins or any of the other neurotransmitters in the brain that make you feel good can cause addiction, but fitness is probably the best thing to become addicted to. Yet, it is that addiction that keeps us coming back, but it is not just because of those little chemicals. After a prolonged period of increased activity, you begin to see the result in more than just the numbers on your fitness tracker. After seeing just a little weight loss or increase in muscle tone, it is a major boost to your self-confidence. This can make that addicting euphoric feeling of exercise last for more than just your workout.

6) That Addictions Becomes an Attitude

After enough time spent exercising, the addiction to that good feeling that initially got you hooked is quickly becoming a way of life. What started off as a few extra steps to please your fitness tracker’s goal setting has become an everyday challenge and you are likely loving it.

Now you aren’t going to the gym, taking a jog, or even just strolling around your neighborhood to get a fix of endorphins, you do it because you like it. It relaxes you, it gives you a way to de-stress, and suddenly that positive feeling you feel after exercise has become an attitude in your daily life.

7) That Attitude Turns into a Permanent Habit

Fitness Tracker help to create healthy habitsFinally, that attitude for fitness becomes a permanent habit, and it is all thanks to your fitness tracker. Suddenly you are walking more and further each day. You don’t even realize you are going for a run, you just get up and do it. Fitness has become a habit for you and may very well stay that way.

While not all who purchase a fitness tracker end up with daily exercise as a permanent habit, it is the essence of how a tracker can affect your psychology. One of the best ways to build a habit is to reward yourself, but there is nothing that we enjoy more than the chemicals in our brain that let us experience joy. By engaging in activities that trigger those chemical, like exercise, it becomes an addiction. Enjoying a healthy addiction like exercise soon becomes an attitude, and suddenly one day you wake up and find yourself with a healthy habit, a better looking body, and a better version of you overall.

Garmin Vivosmart HR+ (Review)

Garmin Vivosmart HR+ (Review)

In most households, Garmin has made a name for itself as a great manufacturer of, among other things, GPS devices. It came as no surprise that on the advent of wearable tech they used that expertise in GPS and combined it with the rising fitness tracker trend.The Garmin Vivosmart HR+ isn’t their first fitness tracker, but is it their best?

Design

Garmin Vivosmart HR+ fitness tracker
The Vivosmart HR+ not only sits wider on the wrist, but it is actually thicker too. For many, it is heavily reminiscent of a wristwatch rather than a light and thin fitness tracker. It seems that Garmin sought to create a modern take on the classic wristwatch while also having the functionality of a fitness tracker. It was a noble effort to pursue, but the design overall comes off less than eye-pleasing when compared to some of the stiffer competition out there.

The OLED screen is nothing particularly special. Aside from displaying numbers, goals, and notifications on a small screen, there is nothing really to set it apart. It is water resistant up to depths of 50 meters, but if you lose it in 50 meters of water, you probably aren’t going to be getting it back. Unfortunately, it is probably the supreme waterproofing that leads to the Garmin Vivosmart HR+ looking more like a GPS monitor for criminals around your wrist.

What does elevate it slightly is the old school buckle bracelet and the fact that it comes in two different sizes for small or large wrist sizes (in other words, men and women). The buckle and the ability to choose your wrist size allows for this to be one of the most comfortably fitting fitness trackers out there.

Which is not only a boon for your wrist, but a snug fit always provides better readings.

Features of the Garmin Vivosmart HR+

The design could be better, but what really counts is how it functions. Luckily, the Vivosmart HR+ functions excellently. It has everything you should expect from a high-end fitness tracker including a heart rate monitor, GPS, accelerometer, and a barometric altimeter.

The Vivosmart tracks all of this throughout the day and transfers it to the Garmin fitness app where you can essentially just view all your data. By default, the Vivosmart sets step goals for you based on how many you did the previous day, but you can change that inside the app. One feature that is oddly missing is the ability to sync with external heart rate monitors, something that most Garmin fitness trackers have. However, because it sits so snugly on the wrist, it likely gets the best reading out of all their models anyway.

With GPS included, the Vivosmart comes with a fairly accurate move bar that senses when you haven’t moved in a while and gently vibrates on your wrist. This can be disabled, but it is one of the finer features of high-end fitness trackers.

Finally, the Vivosmart comes with a battery life of around five days. While that is somewhat low, it meets the standard of fitness trackers that also include GPS, which is a notorious battery sink. Overall, the Garmin Vivosmart HR+ is a good pick if you are going for a high-end fitness tracker, but it does have a few hang ups. However, for runners in particular, because it can fit so soundly and gets great reads through a mixture of contact and quality GPS, this can be the best pick of the lot due to how well it endures rough motion.

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