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1. Fitness Tracker – make your day active
Be more active in everyday life - you get much closer to this dream with a fitness tracker. Being possibly the smalles personal coach in the world, it records your daily activity level and reminds you, when the defined daily target has not been reached yet - and of course, you do not want to belie these expectations. As reward for your progress, which you can share via social networks, the activity tracker recompensates you by sending motivating messages. Let's go to the next training target!
Besides the step counting and the calculation of the calories consumption, modern fitness trackers offer many further practical functions for the individual fitness analysis - and that's not only for sport. Hence you can record your heart rate or analyse your phases of sleep, for instance, with a fitness wristband.
The fitness wristband and its trendy design in hip colours serves as stylish accessory on your wrist at the same time. The slim wristbands are great for everyday life - either as office outfit, while doing sport or at the club at night. You find a great selection of current models of the most well-known brands of selftracking tools in our fitness tracker shop.
Do 10,000 steps a day with the fitness tracker
Regular movement contributes distinctively to a better wellbeing and health. In order to stay healthy and in shape in the long term, the World Health Organisation recommends to do 10,000 steps a day. But when do you achieve 10,000 steps? Very few persons know how much they have really moved throughout the day. It's mainly with respect to sitting activities, that a lot of persons do not achieve the recommended set task of steps.
A fitness tracker helps to keep an eye on the daily, sporty activity. Being a small but effective motivator, it always reminds you to integrate more activity in your daily routine. Just plan to go for a little walk in the evening or take the stairs instead of the lift next time - each kind of motion brings you more and more closer to your daily target. During longer phases with less activity, the inactivity alarm reminds you that it's time again for moving.
2. Purchase advice for fitness trackers
Modern fitness trackers are no longer only step counters. In the meantime, several models with different additional functions and of different designs are available on the market. Deciding for a purchase is not always that easy. That's why we recommend to ask the following questions before you buy a fitness tracker:
- What's your training target? Is the fitness tracker mainyl meant to be used as step counter or do you wish for more functions?
- Do you want to control your training optimally via the heart rate measuring or do you want to keep a special pulse zone for health reasons?
- Do you want to analyse your sleep?
- Is it important for you to share your sporty success with other persons?
- Does the activity tracker has to be waterproof?
- Do you have special preferences with respect to design, for instance colour or width of the wristband? The design is a reasonable criterion of selection, after all, you wear the fitness tracker on the wrist almost throughout the whole time. Some brands offer replacement wristbands so that you can match the colour of your fitness tracker to your clothes.
- What's the kind of wearing comfort? The material of the wristband is crucial for the wearing comfort. Make sure that the wristband is made of a soft and light synthetic material.
- Do you want to record your nutrition and analyse the calories balance?
- How important is the battery life for you?
- Do you prefer a simple or a high-resolution, coloured LED display?
- Have you already used an App over a longer period of time and you don't want that data, which were collected there, get lost? Then gather information before your purchase - whether the fitness tracker, which you choose, is compatible with this special App.
It's depending upon which extras of a fitness tracker you want to have and to use - then you find the appropriate model for you step by step. We explain you in the following which use the different additional functions have in detail:
3. Functions of a fitness tracker
The basic functions of a fitness tracker include the step counting, the distance measuring, and the calculation of the calories consumption. For this purpose the fitness tracker is equipped with an acceleration sensor, which records and analyses the movements. The calories consumption is individually calculated by means of the activity level, the height, and the weight. Above all, that's very useful, when you want to lose weight by doing more sport and by integrating more activity in your everyday life. Besides date and time, these data are shown on the display and can be analysed via an App.
In addition to these standard features, a lot of fitness trackers offer diverse additional functions as well in the meantime, by which their range of functions comes closer and closer to the one of sport watches. These are, for instance:
- fitbit ALTA HR with SmartTrack and heart rate sensor
- Heart rate measuring: via a visual sensor and the LEDs on the bottom of the casing or - very precisely - with a chest strap in order to do an accurate training.
- Altimeter: The integrated altimeter counts the floors and motivates to take the stairs instead of the lift.
- Inactivity alarm: When you have taken a longer rest, the fitness tracker reminds you that it's again time to get more active.
- Sleep monitoring: This function measures your sleeping quality by means of your sleep duration and your phases of sleep. The alarm function wakes softly you up during a light phase of sleep.
- GPS: More and more fitness trackers are equipped with GPS, which allows a precise determination of the position and of the covered distance.
- Smart Notifications: When the fitness tracker is connected with the smartphone via Bluetooth, you are informed about incoming calls, emails or messages. Looking at the wrist is enough, you do not have to check permanently your smartphone.
Fitness trackers with pulse measuring – always keep an eye on your heart rate
Fitness trackers, which offer the measuring of the heart rate besides the basic functions, are getting more and more popular. The heart rate is a reliable indicator of the load of the body. It depends from individual factors like age and fitness level. Using the following rule of thumb, the average, maximum heart rate can be be determined:
HRmax – Rule of thumb for men:
HRmax = 220 - age
HRmax – Rule of thumb for women:
HRmax = 226 - age
Following the maximum heart rate, the HRmax, different heart rate zones can be determined. A training for improving the maximum performance, for instance, requires a higher heart rate than a training for increasing the cardio. By means of pulse zones, it can also be determined when the fat burning has the biggest percentage in the energy supply. The following chart shows at which percentage of the HRmax you achieve a certain training target in the most effective way:
|Very easy||50 to 60%||Health zone||Challenging the health|
|Easy||60 to 70%||Fat burning zone||Activation of the fat metabolism, improvement of the basic endurance|
|Moderate||70 to 80%||Aerobic training / fitness zone||Improvement of the aerobic fitness, increase in cardio performance|
|Intensive||80 to 90%||Anaerobic training / anaerobic zone||Improvement of the lactate tolerance, training for maximum increase in performance|
|Maximum||90 to 100%||Maximum training / competition zone||Improvement of the maximum performance and the speed|
. That's how the training can be optimally controlled and the training target can be quicker achieved. With the fitness tracker, the heart rate is recorded via sensors on the wrist. That's advantageous, when wearing a chest strap is not comfortable for you. Thanks to technical developments, the measuring gets more and more precise. An even more precise measuring of the heartbeats per minute can be achieved with a chest strap.
Fitness tracker with sleep analysis
The smart wristbands are not only useful companions in everyday life: when they are worn over night, they record the individual sleep pattern. When you do not sleep well or do not feel quite fit in the morning, it is helpful to analyse the own sleep behaviour. A fitness tracker with sleep analysis function analyses the night according to type and duration of the phases of sleep. It recognises by means of the movements at night, when you sleep and when you don't. It represents a quite simple kind of sleep analysis, which, of course, does not replace any medical analysis at a sleep laboratory. However, it gives some indication of the duration and the intensity of sleep and gives the user some clues in order to improve his/her quality of life. When you classify your sleep as relaxing - all the better. Then it's simply relaxing to see which different phases of sleep you pass through every night. By means of deep and light phases of sleep, the tracker also records the optimal time to wake up: You will then be waked up in the morning, the moment you are in one of the light phases of sleep. Tip: It's best to wear the fitness tracker on the non-dominant wrist for a reliable sleep analysis.
Analysis of the training data via the App
The fitness tracker records important training data like the covered distance or the calories consumption. It's getting exciting, when you analyse these data via an App or an online portal. Via Bluetooth, the data of the fitness tracker are automatically synchronised with the App and with the smartphone, tablet or computer and these data re clearly presented here. Via the App, you can create a training plan and do the sleep analysis. Alternatively you can calculate the caloric value of your meals and compare it with your need and consumption - it's very helpful when you have the training target of "losing weight". In addition, you can determine weekly targets, build training groups, do competitions with other tracker users, and share your sporty success with friends in social networks. The analysis of the training data also has another motivating effect: Those who see, which progress they have already achieved or how many steps are only missing to achieve the weekly target, cannot wait to do the next training session.
The App of the manufacturer of your selftracker, for instance, Garmin connect, Polar Flow or the Fitbit App, is especially designed for this one. Many models are also compatible with other well-known fitness Apps.
4. Fitness tracker or sport watch?It depends upon your activity level and your sporty targets whether you go for a more simple and often more affordable fitness tracker or for a sport watch with a higher range of functions.
Fitness wristbands have one basic function: They record your activity in everyday life. Hence, here it is not really focussed on (competitive) sports, but on any kind of daily movement - climbing stairs, a walk through the forest or the bike trip to work. Being a loyal companion on the wrist, they help you to estimate the own activity level and act as motivation to move sufficiently during the day. Fitness trackers offer an easy operation and a long battery life. Due to their slim, trendy design, they also work as a sporty-elegant accessory, which can be worn for any ocassion. The sport profiles include types of sport like walking, running, cycling, and climbing stairs; some models extend these basic profiles by types of sport like snowboarding, strength sports, or golf. However, most models are not suitable for aquatic sports, because they are only splashproof. It should also be taken off when you take a shower. However, there are activity trackers of Polar, which are waterproof, for instance the Polar A300 and the Polar A370. Those, who do not really need an altimeter or GPS, take an activity tracker as a motivating companion in everyday life.
- Fitness trackers record your activity even while romping.
Many more training functions are offered by a sport watch, a pulse monitor or a GPS monitor. It focusses on the precise measuring of performance while doing sport; it includes respectively several pre-installed sport profiles. A sport watch is bigger and heavier than a fitness tracker. As it accomplishes much more, it has a shorter battery life and is available in a higher price segment. However, there are still simple beginner devices for beginners. Thanks to their waterproof feature, many sport watches can also be worn while swimming and diving. Via GPS tracking, the watch always brings you back to the starting position, when you go jogging in unknown regions, for instance. The sport watch is hence the right choice for ambitious leisure sportsmen and competitive sportsmen, who want to analyse precisely their training.
In the meantime, more and more models combine the advantages of a fitness trackers with the wide-range training functions of a pulse monitor. Hence, there are already fitness trackers, which can determine the heart rate or which are equipped with GPS. These additional functions also explain the sometimes big price range among fitness trackers. Regarding such models, it's not that easy to clearly differentiate between a fitness tracker and a sport watch. So, before you purchase, compare in detail which functions the different models have and which of those are important to you.
5. The best fitness trackers in the testThose, who are looking for an appropriate fitness wristband or who want to know more about a certain model, rather prefer to search for fitness tracker test first. A product test provides valuable practical experiences and can help to make a purchase decision. In our fitness tracker shop, you have three possibilities to be informed about recommandable activity trackers:
- Fitness tracker test winner: We offer a multitude of test winner models, which were examined carefully by independent test journals and institutes like the ETM Testmagazin, CHIP, VerbraucherWelt or SFT.
- Customer ratings: You should also have a look at the customer ratings and read, which personal experiences our customers have made with the respective fitness tracker.
- Bestsellers: In addition, you can find the top 10 bestsellers of the last 30 days of the category fitness trackers on the product pages.
6. Fitness trackers FAQWe have compiled clearly frequent questions about fitness trackers:
Does a fitness tracker make you fitter?In order to get more in shape, you have to be active of course. The fitness tracker undertakes a very important function: It is your personal fitness coach and motivator and animates you to be regularly active, it makes your training progress understandable, and it analysis your data. In this sense, a fitness tracker helps you indeed to make you fitter.
How does a fitness tracker calculate my calories consumption?The calories consumption is calculated on the basis of the weight, the gender, and the activity level (kind of sport, duration, speed). That's why it is important that the appropriate sport profile can be chosen on the fitness tracker.
How do the models with heart rate measuring detect the pulse?The measuring of the heart rate is done via a visual sensor, which is located at the back of the casing of such fitness wristbands. Together with mostly two LEDs, it is able to record changes of the blood volume, which is transported through the blood vessels. The LEDs screen the blood vessels: Their light is either absorbed or reflected depending upon the blood volume. The sensor measures the reflecting light and calculates the pulse. Even more precise than with fitness trackers, the visual heart rate measuring is done with pulse monitors, which are equipped with four or even with six LEDs like the Polar Smartwatch M600. This method progress more and more. It's especially true for movements in everyday life and for types of sport with permanently light load, for instance while jogging, it provides good benchmarks. It is absolutely sufficient for leisure sportsmen. It is important that the casing fits tightly to the wrist.
On which wrist is it best to wear the tracker?It is recommended to wear the fitness tracker on the non-dominant wrist for a reliable data measuring.
Do I have to wear the fitness tracker around the clock?No, of course you don't have to. However, the more permanently you wear the fitness tracker, the more data it can collect and the more realistic is the image, it records based on your daily fitness. When taking a shower, going swimming, etc. you should definitely take off the model, even when it's splashproof.
Master of sports science
Category Manager, Sport & fitness management assistant
Master's degree in sports science and Medical Physiology (minor subject)