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How to choose an activity tracker

If you want to gain the health benefits of exercise or are training to achieve a specific goal, fitness and activity trackers can increase your motivation by monitoring improvements and helping you set incremental goals.

With apps and a phone that’s Bluetooth enabled, most fitness trackers allow you to send data to other devices to monitor your stats and access custom activity programs. They also allow you to share data with others and benefit from the social side of activity – extra motivation and inspiration through shared goals, competition and targets.

Health focus

Using a simple pedometer, these trackers record your daily steps, distance travelled, and periods of rest so they can estimate the calories you burn as you go about your day. Using your current activity levels as a baseline, they then assign attainable daily goals to progressively increase your level of fitness.

Common features:
  • Pedometer to track daily movement
  • Sleep tracker to monitor sleep cycles
  • Smart notifications
  • Inactivity notices to prompt you to move
  • Nice-looking designs to blend with office attire and everyday clothing

Athletic focus

These types of trackers are designed for people who have a good fitness foundation and want to improve their results for a specific activity or meet a specific goal. They often include a heart rate monitor for more accurate calorie tracking, to use target heart zones for training and to provide more precise metrics and analysis. Most also include smart notifications like vibration alerts for important moments or text messages displayed on screen.

Common features:
  • Features found in health focussed trackers
  • Heart rate monitor to track target zones (some even have built-in optical heartrate sensors that measure changes in blood volume under the skin, just above your wrist)
  • Accurate calorie tracking
  • Styled like sports equipment to blend with workout wear or casual clothes

Training focus

If you have a specific athletic pursuit or a race goal in mind, a tracker with sport-specific functions might be what you need. Track your lap times for running, improve your swim times and stroke count, or use a cadence sensor to monitor output on your bike. These trackers provide very accurate data and precise settings that let you fine-tune your workouts and hone in on your performance goals.

Common features:
  • Features found in health and athletic focussed trackers
  • Internal GPS for precise tracking of speed and distance
  • Automatic lap timing using the internal GPS
  • Sport specific functions
  • Pause function for extended training or multi-sport sessions
  • Statement-making style that looks like high-end sports equipment