Are Fitness Trackers Being Replaced?
Fitness trackers have been popular with consumers since they were first introduced. Instead of trying to track number of steps taken and calories burned during the day by hand, these convenient “wearables” monitor your activity levels for you. Over the last few years the appearance of fitness trackers has noticeably changed, and many health-conscious consumers want to know if this means that they are being replaced?
These innovative devices aren’t being replaced, they have simple been improved. Here are some of the changes and improvements you can expect to see if you are shopping for a new fitness tracker this year.
How Fitness Trackers are Changing
When fitness trackers first hit the global market they were designed to be worn on your wrist. These relatively simple devices counted your steps and calories burned making it easier for you to reach your fitness goals. This is still true for today’s models, only now they can do so much more. You can even find some that you don’t have to wear on your wrist.
Just a few years ago your options were somewhat limited when it came to choosing a fitness tracker. There were only a few companies manufacturing these innovative devices, but over the last couple of years this has changed. Even though “Fitbit” remains the most recognizable brand, there are a few others that are just as good. Withings is one manufacturer quickly gaining favorable attention, along with Tom Tom, Nike and Polar. These are only a few of the top rated brands of fitness trackers consumers can choose from.
The overall design of fitness trackers has changed. The wearable technology is now slimmer, sleeker and even elegant. The bands are available in almost every color, depending on the manufacturer. The face of the tracker has also undergone a few modifications. Designed for ease of use, even if the display is noticeably smaller.
One of the biggest changes to fitness trackers is where they are worn. While the wristbands are here to stay, you do have other options. Under Armour has released a pair of running shoes that can track your stride, thanks to the tiny microchip embedded inside.
If wristbands and running shoes aren’t right for you, don’t worry you still have other options. One innovative company has developed “smart shirts” that track everything from heart and breathing rates to the number of steps taken throughout the day. Some can even provide helpful feedback on your cadence, and monitor the intensity of your workout.
Not all fitness trackers are wearable, and this is appealing to a wide range of consumers. Panasonic is developing a camera that can monitor your heart rate simply by measuring the light reflectance of your skin. The change is caused by your blood vessels contracting and expanding, and the camera’s software uses this to determine the intensity of your workout. Its miniscule size will even allow it to be included in webcams.
- Features and Functions
Fitness trackers already come with a variety of features and functions that typically include the ability to monitor,
- Heart/pulse rate
- Number of steps taken
- Calories burned
- Daily activity level
You can also find fitness trackers designed specifically for a particular sport, and these devices will come with the ability to monitor other metrics. The most common can help runners track time and provide feedback on their stride.
Other fitness trackers are designed to monitor your sleep patterns at night so you can be “at your best” during the day.
Even though these are often enough features and functions to help you become and stay fit and healthy, new ones are constantly being worked on.
Two features that multiple health and fitness companies are working on are the ability to track hydration and blood sugar levels. While this is still in the developmental stages, it is one more indication that fitness trackers are here to stay.
Fitness Trackers are Here to Stay
One of the strongest indicators that wearable technology is changing the way we think and feel about exercise is the simple fact that gyms, and even experienced trainers are integrating these devices into their services. Fitness trackers can be extremely useful, and here are a few ways they can help you get the most out of your workout.
You are not the only one benefiting from the data collected by your fitness tracker. Your personal trainer can also access the information, and this can help them tailor a workout that is ideal for your fitness goals. There is a downside to integrating your fitness tracker with your gym. The data gathered by a fitness tracker can be used to help them learn which products you are most likely to buy. Since you don’t have to link with your gym, this should rarely be a problem.
- Enhanced engagement
Being able to link your fitness tracker with your personal trainer can give you a constant source of encouragement and support. Since your trainer can track your calories or activity levels with you, it is easy for them to see when you might be slipping off your fitness plan. Some gyms even encourage their members to connect with each other, and this can provide you with additional support.
- Make working out fun
A fitness tracker can make “getting in shape” fun, especially when several are synced together. Group exercises can be tracked together, and this can be a terrific way to stay motivated. Sometimes seeing others reach their fitness goals is all the inspiration you need to continue with your workout plan.
Fitness trackers can turn exercising from a solitary activity to one that is a fun and social experience. Even if you are working out at home, a fitness tracker will still let you connect with others. Whether it is a personal trainer or others with similar fitness goals, just knowing that you are not alone is often enough to keep you motivated. This is reason enough to ensure that fitness trackers will continue to be a part of our lives.