A Guide to Choosing the Best Activity Tracker for Your Fitness Goals

A Guide to Choosing the Best Activity Tracker for Your Fitness Goals

A fitness journey, if you are serious about setting off on it, is rarely a short one. As such, it might be helpful to keep track of the distance you’ve covered so far, just to keep remembering you are moving forward. You might also want to know your current whereabouts, keeping track of your vital signs along the way. For the tasks mentioned, there is no better solution than acquiring a fitness tracker. An  activity tracker will do all the monitoring work for you, sparing you the trouble of calculating how much you’ve run or how long you’ve exercised. However, grabbing the first smartwatch you come across and running off into the sunset isn’t exactly the most optimal thing to do. It's important to choose the right activity tracker to ensure it aligns with your fitness goals and preferences. There are several factors you need to take into consideration to choose an activity tracker that will cater to your needs. In this article, we will take a closer look at those features.


Your Fitness Goals

When it comes to fitness, it's important to have a clear understanding of what your goals are. Whether it's weight loss, cardio endurance, or strength training, tracking your progress can be a great motivator to keep going. However, not all activity trackers are created equal. You might buy the most basic activity tracker only to find out it lacks the features needed to analyze the data you’re interested in. That's why it's essential to choose a fitness tracker that meets your specific needs.

Some fitness trackers, as we’ve just mentioned, are designed to track basic activity, like steps taken or calories burned, while others focus on more advanced features like heart rate monitoring or GPS tracking. Some even have smartwatch functionalities. Understanding your fitness goals and how your activity tracker can help you reach them can make all the difference.

If you are determined to lose some weight, a fitness tracker that measures calorie burn and tracks food intake can be incredibly helpful. It will immediately show you the results of your workout or running session, which can serve as valid positive reinforcement. When it comes to building cardio endurance, look for a tracker that has GPS capabilities and can measure metrics like distance and pace during a run or hike. For strength training, consider a tracker with heart rate monitoring, as it can help you understand how your body responds to different workouts and adjust your training routine accordingly.


Types of Activity Trackers

There are several criteria that can serve as a basis for classifying activity trackers. Since we’ll discuss features in the next section of the article, it was decided to classify activity trackers according to their wearing style. In today's market, there are various types of activity trackers available, including smartwatches, wristbands, and clips.


Rings are probably the most compact form of activity trackers. They look exactly what they sound like, but in addition to an aesthetical function, they also perform all the tasks of a regular activity tracker. The features vary depending on the model, but it’s perfectly possible to find a ring that will have all the functions an activity tracker has


Wristbands are probably the most popular type of fitness tracker and are an excellent option for those who want a lightweight and comfortable device. They are usually worn around the wrist, and some brands offer interchangeable bands for customization. Wristbands are more customizable than rings as you can freely adjust their size, which cannot be said about rings.


Smartwatches are the most advanced activity trackers available today. If there is a device that can gather all the possible activity-tracking features in one place, it’s a smartwatch. Even older models come equipped with a plethora of features, including GPS tracking, heart rate monitoring, and sometimes even built-in workout programs.

Chest Straps

Hands are not the only place where activity trackers can rest. Unlike wrist-based trackers, chest straps can monitor your heart rate with greater precision, ensuring that you get the most accurate readings possible during your workouts. With that being said, they usually feature fewer functions than wrist trackers.



Now let’s get down to the very purpose of getting an activity tracker. Features. Gone are the days when the only thing the activity trackers could tell was how many steps you made in a day. Modern trackers can tell you more about yourself than you could expect.

Calorie Tracking

One of the most popular features of activity trackers is calorie tracking. By monitoring the number of calories you burn during your workouts, these devices can help you stay on track with your weight loss goals. Some activity trackers even have food-logging features that allow you to track your caloric intake.

Sleep Pattern Monitoring

Getting a good night's sleep is crucial for your health and fitness, and activity trackers can help you achieve just that. By monitoring your sleep patterns, these devices can help you determine what adjustments you need to make to your daily routine to improve your sleep quality. They can also suggest when to start relaxing so that you can get the most out of every night’s sleep.

Blood Oxygen Sensing

For athletes and fitness enthusiasts, blood oxygen sensing is a must-have feature. By monitoring your blood oxygen levels, these trackers can help you determine when you need to take a break during a workout or adjust your intensity levels.

Activity Reminders

Sometimes, all we need is a little nudge to get moving. That's where activity reminders enter the stage. With this feature, your activity tracker will remind you when it's time to get up and move around, preventing long periods of inactivity. It might not be the thing you’d like to see when leisurely idling your time away, but it is a habit that brings results, not a one-time effort.

Heart Rate Monitoring

Finally, heart rate monitoring is another essential feature of activity trackers. By monitoring your heart rate during workouts or throughout the day, these devices can help you determine whether you need to adjust your intensity levels or take a break.

GPS Tracking

Runners can benefit from this feature more than anyone else. With the ability to track distance, pace, and route, GPS-enabled fitness trackers provide valuable insights into your workout. And not get lost, should you want to make a change in your regular running path.

It’s possible to find all these features in one device. It will be more costly, of course, but this is how things work. But you might not need all the features we mentioned. Think of what can be useful to you. Though many health factors are closely intertwined, you can let some of them off your radar.


Brand Reputation and Reviews

There are many players in the market. Some are more reliable, others less so. The worst thing is that it might be extremely hard to tell one from another at first glance. And buying a device only to find it functioning poorly or breaking down after a bit of use is, well, the notion of frustration. How does one avoid the trap of unreliable sellers? By doing your homework. Research, in this case.

Choosing a well-established and reputable brand is always a safe choice.  Garmin has been in the game for years and has proven examples of producing quality products. However, relying on the name isn’t your only option. If all people turned to one brand, it would be quick to establish a monopoly, and nobody likes monopolies unless they are a game. Smaller brands sometimes produce products that are not inferior to those of bigger brands but don’t have the resources to advertise them competitively. When the brand name tells you nothing, there is another source you can trust: reviews.

It's important to note that choosing a poorly reviewed product can lead to disappointment and a waste of money. Take the time to read reviews from verified sources to ensure that you're making an informed decision. It’s important to differentiate rage reviews from constructive ones, as some people see reviews as a way to channel their outrage for whatever happened to them in life. If there are no reviews on the platform you are willing to buy from, check out other websites.


And that’s pretty much it. As you can see, there are four primary factors you should consider when choosing an activity tracker. First, you should determine your fitness goals. Depending on the type of activity you are pursuing and the goals you strive to achieve, you can then choose features that will help you do so. After you’ve decided on the features, you’d like your activity tracker to have, you can choose the wearing style. Finally, you need to decide on the manufacturer. Make sure to read some reviews on the product you intend to buy. All steps accomplished, you’ll have a reliable, comfortable and well-performing device that will become the scribe of your future accomplishments.


What are the benefits of using an activity tracker?

The benefits of using activity trackers are numerous. These devices can collect data on your vital signs and count the steps you make. At the same time, they show you the immediate results of your training like distance covered or calories burned, thus encouraging you to keep on doing what you do. Activity trackers can also give you tips on how to get the most out of your training or which habits to acquire to reinforce the effectiveness of exercising.

What are the main wearing styles for activity trackers?

Activity trackers are usually worn on a wrist. Other designs include ring and chest straps. Some devices can be attached to clothing or put in a pocket.

Do all activity trackers need a phone?

Not all of them. No. While the overwhelming majority of activity trackers have dedicated apps you can install on a phone or tablet, many activity trackers don’t need any medium to deliver the information.

What is the best inexpensive activity tracker?

Garmin produces a wide range of activity trackers in all price ranges. Their Vivosmart 5 fitness activity tracker tracks your steps, heart rate and energy levels, monitors your sleep quality and does many other useful things.

Apr 25th 2023 Timothy Chandler


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