From running watches to smartbands and biometric sports clothing, don’t waste your money (or your workout) on the wrong fitness technology…
Whether you’re fitness obsessed or a newbie on a New Year’s health kick, wearable technology can help you get the most out of your exercise – by tracking everything from your time to your blood pressure. You get visible results, helping you to understand your body better or compete with your mates, and ultimately push even harder. But before you run off to get one, read this and dodge the gimmicks.
Pick the best app, not the best tech
The app makes your stats meaningful, crunching the data for you and setting your goals, so read app reviews and user comments before buying. Above everything, check that the device is compatible with your phone – most work with both Android and iOS. But Android versions of the app might have less features than the iOS version, plus you might need to update the software on your phone for the fitness device to work.
Most wearable fitness tech also offers some form of virtual reward when you meet your goals (from badges to congratulatory emails) – so some devices are better at boosting your morale than others, if you need a little help staying motivated.
Match your wearable fitness tech to your sport
Most gadgets track everything from your daily step count and distance to heart rate, blood pressure and sleep patterns. But you’ll get the most out of your new gadget if you decide your fitness goals and find a sport specific wearable device to reach them.
Running outside along new routes? Try a fitness watch with a built-in GPS and a display big enough to show a map – so you can plan journeys and find your way home if you get lost. If you prefer to run on treadmills or down the same route every day, however, a GPS might not be worth it.
You have endless possibilities. Cyclists can wear Smart Helmets, while the water-resistant Apple Watch Series 2 and Fitbit Flex 2 can help swimmers keep tabs on strokes in the pool – the latter recognises freestyle, breaststroke, backstroke and butterfly.
… And also your lifestyle
You need to wear most fitness trackers constantly, day and night, so try before you buy and make sure it’s comfy. You’ll notice that fitness watches fit more securely than wristbands and clip on fitness technology doesn’t have a display – so you’ll have to monitor your exercise on your phone.
The style you go for is a matter of personal taste, because fitness trackers come in all shapes and sizes – from rubberised bands to sporty smartwatches, even jewellery, bras and headphones.
It doesn’t have to be on your wrist
Jabra Sport Pulse in-ear headphones, for example, will play your music while accurately tracking your heart rate. Select the heart rate zone you want to train at (fat burning or cardio, say) and it will tell you to speed up or slow down to stick to it.
Watch out for the battery life
Now, the more active you are, the more important the battery life, obviously – imagine leaving your device at home to charge during your workout! You have two main choices – a wearable fitness device that needs charging with a USB cable roughly every 5 days or one that uses a watch battery that can last for 6 months. The choice is yours.
Buy from somewhere reputable
You can get great deals on wearable tech and fitness trackers at Very, but keep your eye out for the new Apple Watch 3 with a better battery life that’s rumoured for late 2017. Whether you buy from Samsung or Amazon, we will connect you to the relevant customer service team if you ever need advice.