Fitness or activity trackers basically keep track of calories burned, steps, and distance traveled. Outside these, they are individually built to measure a specific parameter. Some are specifically made to monitor sleep, location, heart rate, and so on.
It is very important that you get a fitness tracker that will suit your needs and lifestyle. This starts with knowing the available options and features. This will help you to get the best fitness tracker that will good for your fitness activities and routine.
The fact that you have a fitness tracker doesn’t mean you can wear it when next you go swimming. For swimming, it is very important that you get a waterproof fitness tracker. This means that it must be properly sealed, submersible, and can stand a consistent soaking in water.
A waterproof activity tracker is one that you can wear everywhere you go. They are fitness trackers you can wear when going for a swim, shower, and so on. Basically, they are not damaged when exposed to sweat, moisture, or water. Nobody wants to remove their fitness tracker or smartwatch always. Besides, you are supposed to wear it always to get the best results.
However, not all fitness or activity trackers are waterproof. Hence, they will not survive been immersed in water, in the shower, powerful rainstorm, or in the pool. If this is what your fitness tracker will be subjected to, you will need to get something better.
If you prefer learning by video, this article is also explained here.
What Are Fitness Trackers?
Fitness trackers are devices that when worn on the wrist can detect distance covered, walking steps, sleep patterns, swimming laps, and heart rate. These special bands communicate through Bluetooth with an application on your smartphone or laptop. The device configures or syncs with the fitness device and then download the user’s activity data.
Most fitness trackers monitor a lot of physical activities through a fitness application. But some specific models keep track of more functions.
What Do Fitness Trackers Measure?
For you to get the best from your fitness companion, it is important that you know the basics. Though fitness trackers have different features, they all have share one basic function which is measuring motion.
These mechanisms involve the use of an accelerometer to monitor movement and then a gyroscope to measure rotation and orientation.
Let’s look at other information they keep track of so that you can maximize your efforts and time.
Fitness trackers can monitor heart rate, but they are not totally accurate. They have special sensors that work by shining light through the skin to the blood vessels. This basically results in heart reading, although they are different from the ones recorded by medical professionals.
Notwithstanding, it is effective for sports and during outdoor workouts.
Just like smartwatches, fitness trackers have a GPS receiver that finds your walking, cycling, and running routes. This is very beneficial for mapping your exercises and reviewing factors like hills and terrains for those that are conscientious about their results.
This added feature comes in handy for parents that worry about their child’s or loved one’s safety since it can track their exact location.
The importance of sleep to man cannot be overemphasized. It plays a major role in our wellbeing, performance, and concentration.
Some fitness trackers have motion sensors that monitor your sleep patterns. These include the amount of good sleep you have had, and how much interruption you had while sleeping.
Calorie Intake or Consumption
You can manually log your calorie intake into your fitness tracker so that you can monitor what you eat. Most especially if you are working towards cutting down on excess calories. Calorie feature in fitness trackers helps to estimate calories burned during physical activity or work out.
Specifically, they estimate the calories burned during some activities like active minutes, sedimentary time, stairs climbed, steps taken, and so on. If you are on a toning or weight loss regimen, you will find this feature helpful.
Some recent fitness tracker models can now measure blood pressure. This is the force with which blood is pushed through the blood vessels to all parts of the body. Although they are not always accurate, they are useful for workouts and sports.
Do not rely on this information if you have blood pressure issues. It is best if you fix an appointment with your doctor.
This is important for those who desire to track the fat changes in their body over time. Even though information collected by fitness trackers is not entirely accurate, they encourage motivation.
They are also helpful as they give you an idea of the changes you are making in your body.
Some fitness trackers like Fitbit Versa fitness band are believed to record data on a lot of physical activities. This is helpful if you love engaging in different exercises and workouts.
Types of Sensors Found in Fitness Trackers
Fitness bands use special widgets that help to monitor different variables of the user. These parameters include frequency, acceleration, intensity, movement patterns, and duration. They are passed through known algorithms with some estimation and are then processed.
Manufacturers adopt a design of an already existing sensor and use it to develop their fitness tracker. Some are loaded with different types of sensors, while others may just have only a few basic sensors on their lower models.
Here are some common types of sensors:
A gyroscope measures rotation and orientation. It is can also be used to measure angular velocity and navigation. A 3-axis gyroscope can be coupled with a 3-axis accelerator to give a ‘6o freedom’ system of tracking motion.
A lot of trusted fitness trackers make use of this combination. This helps to get a better data collection of all 3D directional workouts motions that you may perform.
This sensor monitors movement on all sides. It takes an inertial measurement of position and velocity. On 3-axes, it can recognize orientation, inclination, and tilt of your body too.
This is an important feature of fitness trackers because most steps you take will be measured by the 3-axis accelerator sensor.
An altimeter measures height and so are used in fitness trackers designed for climbing mountains. They are an improved version of an aneroid barometer that measures pressure.
Most fitness trackers might not have this sensor. If you love to hike and climb mountains, then get a fitness tracker specially designed with this sensor for that purpose.
This sensor measures pulse rate with the use of light on the skin. They can measure heart rate by measuring how blood is pumped through the blood vessels.
This sensor is most preferred by many fitness trackers manufacturers compared to the use of galvanic skin response.
This monitors temperature changes. It records the temperature of the body which is similar to the function of the thermometer.
As the temperature of the body increases, the harder the workout appears to the tracking device.
It measures the skin resistance felt when a little electric current is passed through it using the galvanic skin response mechanism. This measures the degree of electrical resistance felt on your skin and interprets the signal received as a type of the body’s activity.
It is otherwise known as the psycho galvanic response or electrodermal reflex. This doesn’t mean that the fitness tracker gives shocks through the skin to the body. However, some of them might use the bioimpedance sensor to gather data for the measurement of heart rate.
Most manufacturers do not reveal information about the type of sensor that they use with programmed algorithms in their fitness tracker models. They do this to protect their inventions from competitors.
Therefore, we cannot exhaust all the types of sensors used in wearable fitness trackers.
Sensors have a slight difference in their threshold levels. This makes it hard to join 2 fitness trackers to get a uniform activity level of a user. If a person wears 2 different activity trackers on one wrist during a workout session, it is most likely that they will give different measurements.
This doesn’t mean that one of the devices is faulty. It means that their inbuilt sensors have a slightly different recording of the movements made during the exercise. As a result, you must remember that even if fitness trackers may be a good yardstick for performed physical activity, you must carefully interpret them.
It is normal for activity trackers to give different values of heart rate, the number of walking steps, calories burned, and so on. As you continue to use the same device, there is some level of continuity and data that will help in the long run.
Fitness trackers are electrical gadgets and so can malfunction. So, their results should not be considered absolute.
What Are Waterproof Fitness Trackers?
Video: Looking For A Swim Tracking Device?
This video will explain some factors to consider when getting a swim tracking device with some examples of waterproof fitness trackers
Waterproof fitness trackers are designed to make sure that you could track your progress even under wet conditions. They are sweat and waterproof.
So they can take readings while you are having a swim in a pool, walking under the rain, and even singing in a shower.
The readings that waterproof fitness trackers are designed to take are:
- Speed. It measures how fast you are moving.
- Laps. The tracker measures the total distance covered while moving in the pool or under the rain.
- Stroke. The device measures the number of swimming strokes taken. Some devices do not recognize and read strokes that are not proper swimming strokes.
- The number of strokes taken. Some fitness trackers with an advanced operating system can count the number of strokes taken when swimming.
Some trackers also have a SWOLF score which recommends the number of strokes you should take for a given pool length. This helps you to be a fast swimmer.
Features to Look Out for In A Waterproof Fitness Tracker
A High IP Rating
IP means Ingress Protection and it is a rating system that determines how well your device can fend off the elements.
This rating is set up by the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) and has two digits such as IP66, IP67, and so on.
The higher the IP number of a device, the higher the device’s ability to withstand.
The first digit represents the ability of the device to fend off solid foreign objects like dust while the second digit represents the ability of the device to ward off liquids.
This is also known as atmospheres and it is used to represent how much pressure a device can withstand underwater.
A fitness tracker of 4atm is assumed to be able to withstand the water pressure at 40 meters (131 feet) below sea level.
You should also remember that some devices that have ATM ratings are not meant to be worn under wet conditions.
It is a brilliant idea to check the ratings of a waterproof fitness tracker you intend to buy because ratings vary.
Heart Rate Monitor
Some waterproof fitness trackers come with a heart rate monitor. This feature is so beneficial and can play a vital role in finding out how stressed up you are at any given time.
Knowing your heart rate during an exercise can help you know how efficient each exercise regimen is and your recovery rate after each workout.
Fitness Trackers That Are Waterproofed
Smartwatches for Swimming
These days, there is almost no difference between smartwatches and fitness trackers. This is because most popular smartwatches now have some added features like regular fitness trackers.
The features include GPS, monitors for measuring heart rate, and waterproof quality. With the latter, most smartwatches have become fit to be used in the swimming pool.
In addition, these smartwatches are more stylishly built than regular fitness trackers. Some examples of smartwatches are Fitbit Versa 2, Apple Watch Series 5, and Moto 36.
How Do Fitness Trackers Work?
Have you ever wondered how the band on your wrist work? To carry out its unique functions, there is a series of steps including collecting statistics that will appear on the corresponding application.
Step One – Collection of Data by Sensors
We have already established the fact that fitness trackers are built to measure motion. With the 3-axis accelerator, they can keep track of movements in all directions. While some are built with the gyroscope as well to measure rotation and orientation.
These data are collected and converted into activity and steps. Then into sleep and calorie quality with some added estimation in the process.
On the other hand, there’s an altimeter that measures your altitude. It calculates the height of mountains you have climbed or the exact number of steps you have climbed up and down throughout the day.
There are different sensors in fitness trackers that collect data throughout the day. The total number of sensors that your fitness tracker has, the greater its data accuracy.
So, ensure you know the sensors in a particular fitness tracker that collates data about your activities.
Step Two – Addition of Algorithms
Fitness trackers use different algorithms to interpret and convert data collected into real statistics. For example, a little movement of your wrist might be insignificant to the tracker. While a car bump will be amplified.
This depends on its threshold. Normally, some factors can affect the accuracy of your fitness tracker.
For a calorie count, a fitness application needs to get your physiological details otherwise they won’t function properly. These include gender, age, weight, and height. The more data and sensors used determines the accuracy of the results.
For example, to calculate the number of calories burned, the fitness tracker needs data about heart rate and your perspiration. This is added to the algorithm with the number of steps taken.
Step Three – Presentation of Data
This is the final step in the tracking chain. The fitness application presents the data in a user-friendly manner after passing it through different algorithms and analyzing the data accordingly. You can monitor how well you are doing by checking the app.
To better understand how fitness tracker work, let’s look at how it measures steps.
How Does A Wearable Fitness Tracker Measure Steps?
A fitness band always senses the body movements on the 3-axis accelerometer. The data collected is recorded throughout the period the band is worn. This helps the fitness tracker to track the movement of the user (running, standing, or walking). This data is stored for processing.
Processing starts when the stored data is moved to the installed software with the activity tracker. Usually, on the laptop or smartphone that it has been synchronized with. The data is passed through known algorithms from the personal details shared by the user.
The software divides the movements recorded into different activities and gets more information basing them on the shared details. Then they are stored in the fitness application under various headings.
This processed information is made available on the app for the user. It tells you the number of steps taken, speed, pace, and calories burned. This is shown in a user-friendly format.
Facts About Fitness Trackers
They help to monitor all physical activities and workouts.
They are very convenient to use.
It helps its users to set fitness goals like the total number of calories to be burned each day and so on.
It encourages or motivates the user by showing the goals that have been met. It does this by determining how much exercise is needed each day. Then it sets daily targets for its users. The ability to keep track of each target met motivates the user in the weight loss regimen.
Also, you can share your progress with your friends and family on social media using the fitness application.
Types of Fitness Trackers
There are three main types of fitness trackers. They are:
Basic Fitness Trackers
They monitor the number of steps you walk daily and measures the distance traveled. These model options are perfect for runners and workers who want to monitor their distance-related activities.
Some examples of these fitness trackers are Garmin Vivofit 3, Omron HJ-320, Fitbit Zip, and so on.
Heart Rate Fitness Trackers
These types of trackers do all the functions basic trackers can do. In addition, they have special sensors that monitor changes in the heart rate also. This helps you to know the total number of calories you have burned all day. Examples are Fitbit Charge 2, Xiaomi Mi Band 2, and so on.
Heart Rate Fitness Trackers With GPS
These fitness trackers can do the functions above and have GPS satellites that locate your position. This is a great option for cyclists and hikers. An example is the Garmin Vivosmart HR+.
Some fitness trackers can measure sleep. Examples are the Misfit Flash, Jawbone UP Move, and so on.
Factors to Consider When Getting A Fitness Tracker
Before you buy your fitness tracker, these are factors to consider:
Your fitness tracker should be able to carry out the following functions and more:
- Give you accurate data on your workout regimens such as the calories burnt, distance covered, steps taken, sleep patterns, and even your heart rate.
- Your fitness tracker should be able to display the date and time accurately.
- It should be able to have a record of your weight loss progress and always calculate your Body Mass Index (BMI).
- It should monitor your weight loss pattern and offer recommendations for better results.
- It should also have a user-friendly interface and can be read and operated under sunlight and very bright light sources.
Its Compatibility to Other Smart Devices
Your fitness should be compatible and easily connect to different types of devices. It is important to find out if the fitness tracker you want to buy can connect and work properly with your device.
You should also bear in mind that old smartphones might not be compatible with the latest application version of fitness trackers available for sale nowadays.
The operating system (OS) of the tracker application is where all your data are stored. This OS works with your workout progress and recommends efficient activities that will help you achieve results quicker.
Remember that fitness trackers are similar to smartphones. They have colorful screens and add-ins from their application store that helps in their functions. Their latest OS updates are also carried out on the app store.
Most updates add new features to the tracker, extend its battery life, and also improves its sensitivity while fixing some bugs.
There are quite a number of fitness tracker devices available for purchase both online and offline. The designs also vary and are quite numerous.
Some are sleek and sporty while others are designed to look bulky and complicated. Most fitness trackers are designed to be worn as a wristwatch while some are in the form of a wristband.
Some trackers can also be worn as clips on clothing while some can be customized and bought on demand. Some fitness trackers can be put inside pockets although these designs are the least desirable.
Some fitness trackers can be worn as part of your accessories, either as a necklace or a pin.
When choosing the design of your fitness tracker, you could take the following into account:
- The size.
- The screen size and brightness.
- The color.
- The weight.
- Battery life.
- Ease of use
- Suitable to be worn all-day
- The price.
The latest technology has helped in ensuring that fitness trackers are more sensitive and hence provide more accurate readings than before. Although smartwatches or wearable trackers are the most popular, they are considered as the least sensitive type of fitness trackers.
The best options are GPS systems, but they are quite expensive and can be difficult to operate sometimes.
Despite these comparisons, the latest technological advancements have seen to it that all fitness trackers give near-perfect readings. They are also able to help you in building your performances and encourage you in your workout routines.
More improvements and upgrades are made to further enhance the functions of these devices and to increase their efficiency.
Its Battery Life
How long the battery of a fitness tracker lasts is a particularly crucial factor that should influence your choice when making a purchase. The capacity of fitness tracker batteries varies.
While some batteries can last for a few days, some batteries can stay up to 3 weeks. A device that you do not have to charge or worry about its batteries often should be an excellent choice.
You have to consider the type of battery that the fitness tracker you want to purchase is working with. There are two types of batteries used in waterproof fitness trackers. The cell battery lasts for up to half a year and the smartphone battery which can last for up to a week.
You should also consider the type of charging cable for the device you intend to buy. Most trackers are charged with micro USB while others are charged with USB type C. The type C charges the tracker quicker than the micro USB.
Before buying a fitness tracker, check the warranty. The longer the warranty, the better an option it becomes.
The warranty offers you either free repairs or total replacement of the device within the period stipulated. It is also a clever idea to thoroughly read the warranty terms and conditions. This will help you to fully understand what it takes to benefit from it.
Remember to always talk to the salesperson extensively on the warranty offers before settling for the product.
Fitness trackers no doubt come in handy for a lot of beneficial reasons. They are built to meet the needs of people.
Waterproof trackers go the extra mile of monitoring your physical activity when you are underwater, taking a shower, or any other wet conditions.
Remember, the best waterproof activity or fitness trackers is not only a tool that comes in handy for your runs or workouts. But they are a regular companion from your swimming sessions to when you take a shower afterward.