As people become more conscious of their health and physical fitness, fitness trackers have become increasingly popular.
One of the most popular forms of fitness trackers is the smartwatch. Smartwatches offer many advantages for fitness tracking, but they also have some disadvantages. In this article, we will take a closer look at the pros and cons of using a smartwatch for fitness tracking.
Benefits of using a Fitness Tracker/Smartwatch for Fitness Tracking
One of the primary advantages of using a fitness tracker, including a smartwatch, is accountability. Fitness trackers help users exercise every day, whether walking, jogging, or working out, and they are more committed to getting their steps in or completing their workout sessions. In a study conducted by the American Heart Association, it was found that participants who used a fitness tracker were more active and had a lower BMI than those who didn’t use a tracker.
Personally, I have found that using a fitness tracker/smartwatch has made me more accountable. I set goals for myself each day, and seeing how many steps I’ve taken or how many calories I’ve burned motivates me to keep going.
Another advantage of using a fitness tracker is motivation. A fitness tracker gives a visual of progress and accomplishments each day, which can be good motivation to improve more and more each day. It is very satisfying to see how far you’ve come compared to where you started. Additionally, many fitness trackers offer challenges and rewards to help users stay motivated.
I am a competitive person, so I love competing with friends and family who also have fitness trackers. My smartwatch allows me to join challenges and compete with others to see who can get the most steps or complete the most workouts in a week. This has helped me stay motivated and consistent with my fitness routine.
Fitness trackers can provide more accurate results than using a phone for fitness tracking. Smartwatches have sensors that can better measure your heart rate, steps taken, calories burned, and even your sleep patterns. Because the sensors are closer to your body, they can provide more accurate readings.
For example, the Apple Watch Series 6 has a blood oxygen (SpO2) sensor that provides an accurate measurement of your blood oxygen levels, which is important for people with respiratory or circulatory conditions.
|Apple Watch Series 6||Accurate SpO2 sensor||Expensive|
|Fitbit Sense||ECG tracking, Stress scores||Limited app store|
Another benefit of using a smartwatch for fitness tracking is that it can help you stay connected while being active. Smartwatches allow you to receive notifications, take calls and control your music without having to take your phone out of your pocket. This is especially useful when running or exercising in a gym where you may not want to carry your phone around with you.
Personally, I like that my smartwatch allows me to control my music and podcasts during workouts. I don’t have to stop my workout to take my phone out of my pocket and change the song.
Disadvantages of using a Fitness Tracker/Smartwatch for Fitness Tracking
One of the most significant disadvantages of using a fitness tracker/smartwatch is the cost. Fitness trackers can be expensive to buy, and if someone doesn’t use it, they could have spent their money on something more useful. The cost of a smartwatch can range anywhere from $200 to over $1,000, depending on the brand and features.
For example, the Apple Watch Series 6 starts at $399, while the Fitbit Sense starts at $329.99. These prices may vary depending on where you live and where you buy them.
Most fitness trackers/smartwatches have limited battery life, which can be inconvenient when charging the device. Depending on how frequently you use it, you may need to charge your smartwatch every day or every few days.
For example, the Apple Watch Series 6 has a battery life of approximately 18 hours with typical use. The Fitbit Sense has a battery life of up to 6 days, depending on how frequently you use it.
|Fitness Tracker||Battery Life||Other Features|
|Apple Watch Series 6||Approximately 18 hours||Always-on Retina display|
|Fitbit Sense||Up to 6 days||Built-in GPS|
Fitness trackers can provide inaccurate results, and it’s essential to remember that they are not 100% accurate. Factors like skin color, body hair, and how the device is worn can all impact the accuracy of the readings.
For example, if you wear a smartwatch too loosely or too tightly, it may not be able to provide accurate heart rate readings. Additionally, if you wear a fitness tracker on your wrist while doing arm-based exercises like weightlifting, it may not be able to provide accurate step count or calorie burn data.
Health Data Privacy Concerns
Most fitness trackers/smartwatches collect and store health data, which can be a privacy concern. If the device is linked to a smartphone app, the data may be stored in the app as well. It’s essential to check the privacy policies of the device and app before using them.
For example, the Fitbit Sense has an ECG tracking feature that requires FDA clearance. The health data generated from this feature is encrypted and stored securely in the Fitbit app.
Using a smartwatch as a fitness tracker has both advantages and disadvantages. While they can help users stay accountable and motivated, they can also be expensive and have limited battery life. It’s important to consider your personal preferences and needs when deciding whether to use a smartwatch for fitness tracking.
Overall, I personally find using a fitness tracker/smartwatch beneficial in keeping me motivated and accountable. The benefits of seeing progress and competing with friends and family outweigh the cost and potential inaccuracies of the device. However, everyone’s fitness journey and preferences are unique, so it’s essential to do your research and find the device that works best for you.
Q: What are the most important factors to consider when choosing a fitness tracker/smartwatch?
A: When choosing a fitness tracker/smartwatch, some factors to consider include price, battery life, features, and compatibility with your phone’s operating system.
Q: Can fitness trackers/smartwatches be worn while swimming or other water-based activities?
A: It depends on the fitness tracker/smartwatch. Some devices have water-resistant ratings, which allow them to be worn while swimming, while others may not be suitable for water-based activities.
Q: Are fitness trackers/smartwatches only for fitness tracking, or do they have other uses as well?
A: Fitness trackers/smartwatches can have other uses, including receiving notifications, playing music, and using voice assistants like Siri or Google Assistant.
Q: Do fitness trackers/smartwatches need to be synced with a smartphone to work properly?
A: Yes, most fitness trackers/smartwatches require a smartphone app to track and collect data.
Q: Can fitness trackers/smartwatches help with weight loss efforts?
A: Yes, fitness trackers/smartwatches can help with weight loss efforts by tracking calories burned, steps taken, and other physical activities. However, weight loss also requires a healthy diet and lifestyle changes.