Fitness trackers are good, in fact great, provided you use them smartly. The wearable market has exploded in the past few months with the launch of multiple fitness bands, trackers and smart-watches. These trackers range from as low as USD 50 and can even go up to USD 700. But do we really require expensive trackers or watches to stay fit?
Before we fall for it and make a buying decision, let’s take a moment to discuss if we really need one to stay fit. Let’s not forget that before the recent boom, people were still able to stay motivated and fit without the need for one.
6 reasons why you don’t need a fitness tracker
Apps do it all, well almost! – Let’s look at what all does a fitness tracker does for you. Its tracks all day activities like steps, distance, calories, sleep, some has built-in GPS & heart rate monitor as well. Barring sleep and heart rate monitor, the apps on your smartphone can do everything else for you that a tracker does. Apps such as Runkeeper, Runtastic, Endomodo, etc. can track your workout like running, cycling using your phone’s GPS and can tell you the distance covered, maps, calories burned, etc. Other apps like instant heart rate can tell your resting beat with the help of its camera. Google Fit and Apple’s default Health app shows you the number of steps taken in a day. So barring a couple of features, an app can provide all the essential measuring tools you need to stay fit.
Fitness bands cost you money. Also, remember that free apps already cover necessary parameters and features such as built-in GPS and HRM in a tracker comes at a significantly higher price.
Not practical to use it 24X7 – As most fitness bands track both steps and sleep, it requires you to use it all the time. Initially, you might be motivated, but gradually you will realize that carrying it throughout the day and night on the wrist seems not practical. I had developed rashes on my wrist when I used a tracker from Fitbit for 3 days in a row, partly due to hot and humid weather in Delhi NCR. If we decide not to apply to 24X7, then we are not able to make 100% use of the band.
Regularly charging means, you will have to carry yet another charging device with you all the time.
The accuracy of some of the trackers is highly debatable. In fact, no two fitness trackers will display the exact steps count in a day. Unlike smartphone-based apps, fitness trackers are worn on the wrist and can count hand gesture movements as steps resulting in inflated results over the course of the day.
Fitness tracker won’t differentiate between steps from a heavy intensity activity like running/ jogging and normal walk. It means that the intensity of your work out will not be recorded accurately by the tracker as you will burn more calorie achieving say 5000 steps by way of running then just walking.
Who needs a fitness tracker?
Professional athletes and ultra-distance runners need an accurate GPS and continuous heart rate monitoring to help them train better for the endurance sports. They are likely to make the full use of fitness trackers.
People who need an extra bit of motivation to achieve a higher number of steps/ physical activities in a day (Yes, most fitness bands alerts you if you have been seated for a longer time).
People who need to know how much and how well they sleep.
Those who want to replace regular watch with a piece of stylish accessory on their wrist.