Why not to buy a fitness tracker

Use fitness trackers smartly or don’t use at all

Fitness trackers are good, infact great, provided you use them smartly. The wearble 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 Rs. 800 and can even go up Rs. 45,000. 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 to avoid using a fitness tracker | Why not to buy a fitness tracker!

  • Apps does 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 continuous heart rate monitor, the apps on your smartphone are able to 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 tells you the number of steps taken in a day. So barring couple of features, an app is able to provide all the basic measuring tools you need in order to stay fit. 
  • Fitness bands costs you money. Also remember that basic areas are already covered by free apps 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 tracks 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 carried 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 use 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.
  • Accuracy of some of the trackers are highly debateable. In fact, no two fitness trackers will display the exact steps count in a day. Unlike smatphone based apps, fitness trackers are worn on wrist and can add hand gesture movements as steps resulting in inflated results over a course of day.
  • Fitness tracker wont differentiate between steps from a intensity heavy activity like running/ jogging and normal walk. This means that the intensity of your work out won’t be recorded accurately by the tracker as you will burn more calorie achieving say 5000 steps by way of running then just walking. 

Having highlighted the above points, lets also discuss who should buy 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 extra bit of motivation to achieve higher number of steps/ physical activities in a day (Yes, some 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 peace of stylish accessory on their wrist.

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