Everywhere you go, you will see a small wristband on someone’s hand. It may be of a different colour, it may also look like a watch. These are called Fitness bands or Fitness trackers. Now, these have evolved into smart bands as they do more than just tracking your activity now.
People who use them will not miss any opportunity to talk about their fitness band or slip in the fact that they completed 10,000 steps like it’s some magic number. They will literally go on and on about their lifestyle and the changes they have made. Surprisingly, you may also hear them complain about the same. Like the display is too small, or the Bluetooth connection is poor etc. These smart bands cost anywhere between Rs. 2500 to Rs. 15,000. It can also cost even more or you might find a cheaper one, I won’t trust the cheaper one if I were you. All this makes you wonder, are fitness bands really worth the money we pay? To answer this question, we’ll have to go through their functions and ask ourselves a few of them.
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Fitness Bands – Functions
Here is a quick summary of the functions that generally all smart bands offer in general and also a few features that you might only find in specific models.
1. Count Steps
You guys probably know this function already. Yes, its counting your steps. Fitness bands use a small sensor called the accelerometer which measures the change in the direction and speed to measure the steps you have taken. This same technology is used to determine if you are running, walking or just sitting idle.
2. Track Movements
These smart bands have various other sensors which help in tracking different movements. A gyroscope helps to track the level of our body. It tracks whether we are sitting down, standing up, lying down, jumping etc. The GPS unit in most models helps you track your run route or your cycling route and also gives you the distance you have covered. The higher more expensive models also have a barometer. It measures the altitude based on the pressure. This helps in tracking the flight of stairs you take in a day.
3. Measure your vital
Now, most of the newer smart bands come with a heart rate sensor. This sensor helps you measure your active heart rate and resting heart rate. This data when combined with the steps, and the preset algorithm gives you a better result of your workout statistics.
4. Count Your Calories
Fitness bands also measure the calories you have burned, by measuring your body’s precipitation and the active heart rate. This feature is generally available only in the higher-end fitness trackers. The apps that come with these fitness apps allow the user to input the number of calories they consume. And since we all know that we have to burn more calories than we consume, this helps in understanding the workout routine better.
As I said before, Fitness bands have gone from just being Fitness trackers to a smart device. These devices can now send alerts about the calls, emails, messages, and other notifications that you receive on your mobile device. Some of the more premium fitness bands send you a message that you have been idle for too long, get up and move a bit. This is mostly just small vibration notification. These also congratulate you when you achieve your goals to keep you motivated.
6. Track Your sleep
A feature that still blows my mind is sleep tracking. The devices uses all the sensors like accelerometer, gyroscope, heart rate sensor, etc. and combines that data to detect if you are in a deep sleep, light sleep or awake. This feature is still isn’t the most accurate, but the tech is on the right path. The results are either overstated or understated most of the times. This doesn’t provide the users with a clear picture.
7. Fitness apps
Fitness tracker always come with their standalone fitness apps. These apps provide the user with a better understanding of the statistics and help the user understand their own body better. For example, the heart rate tracking will help the user understand if their resting heart rate is normal or is it higher than what it should be. These apps also help the user set individually tailored goals.
The Questions you should ask yourself
1. What is my Budget?
This is probably the most important question that you should ask yourself before buying any piece of technology. Because there is always going to be the newest and the piece of technology, but we also have to accept the fact that this will be pretty costly. So it is important that we decide a budget and look out for options in that budget. Basically it means how much money are you willing to spend on a smart band. If you decide that you don’t really want to spend much and just curious about the tech, you can buy a budget smart band like the Mi band 4, which costs under Rs. 2500/-. If you decide to go all out you can go and buy the more expensive ones from brands like Garmin and Fitbit. You can buy Garmin watches on Amazon – Garmin Vivo Active 3
2. Which is my prefered Workout?
The next question you should ask yourself is ‘which is my prefered workout?’ or ‘what type of workout am I comfortable with?’ Whether you are comfortable with running, cycling, swimming or playing some sport or hitting the gym. The type of workout you want will decide the worth of the fitness band. Another really important point is how much, is it going to be really intense or just a casual workout. If you are into just casually running or cycling then fitness bands are definitely worth the money. The newer smart bands are now waterproof so you can take them swimming and these will also detect your swimming stroke automatically.
3. What is that I want to know?
Another really important question that you should ask yourself is “What is that I want to know?” you should decide for yourself what you want. If you just want to track your steps then, it’s better that you get a simple pedometer. But if you want to track your overall health and understand your sleep patterns and vital signs better, then fitness bands are the only logical option to go for.
4. Will I be better off with just fitness apps?
Well, mobile phones have literally become an extension of our body. There is hardly any time when we are without them. Most people also carry their phones to their morning routines. Since we carry our phones everywhere, you might also get a similar result with the fitness apps. The new update from OnePlus mobiles shows you the number of steps you have walked throughout the day on the home screen. Yes, our phones also have similar but better accelerometers, gyroscopes and other sensors. So you have to think about it if you are comfortable with just the fitness apps then you might not need a fitness band.
The whole purpose of fitness bands is to push you and motivate you towards an active and fit lifestyle. These are merely tools that help you achieve your goal, but the whole thing depends upon your resolve. If you have a firm resolve to get fit, nothing can stop you. But if you are in it half-hearted, you might start pushing the blame on different things. That being said, fitness bands are a great piece of technology to have. Here are some of the best fitness trackers that you can buy on Amazon.
- The Fitbit Versa 2 has a great 1.34’ inch AMOLED display which every detail on the watch pleasing to the eye.
- Crisp and bright “Always On” AMOLED displays makes it really easy to view the watch even in harsh sunlight.
- Fitbit is known for its accuracy when it comes to fitness and it is on point as always. All fitness trackers are inaccurate by at least 10-12% as these devices are not connected to your muscles and use sensors to map your body movements.
- The Fitbit Versa 2 is also integrated with Alexa. This allows you to do a lot of stuff just with your voice.
- Vivo Active 3 is a really lightweight fitness tracker, hence the best for sports.
- The Garmin Vivo Active 3 has a 24/7 heart rate monitoring.
- It has a wide range of sports which you can choose and track your activity. Garmin Vivo Active 3 tracks all these activities like golf, swimming, indoor fitness machines, etc. For a wearable tracker, it does a really great job.
- The Fitbit Inspire HR has a battery life of about 7 days. It has a bright display with a reasonably big font which allows you to read the notifications and time easily.
- Inspire HR shows you your sleep directly on the band.
- It helps in tracking a wide range of exercises like running, swimming, interval training, weights, bike, etc. It also has timers in build in the smart band. You can set up other alarms from the Fitbit app.
- Mi Smart Band 4 has a 0.95 color AMOLED display. It is the brightest among all the devices mentioned in this article. You can change and customize the watch faces as per your choice from the app. There are over 62 watch faces available right now, and you can also make your own if you know how to do it.
- The Mi band 4 also has a swim tracking along with stroke recognition besides all the regular tracking functions. As they say ‘With great power comes a great fitness band’. The Mi band 4 can last upto 15 days on a full charge while using all its functions regularly.
- The band is water-proof upto 50meter. It’ll track all your swimming data easily. Honor Band 5 has Trusleep and Truseen features. These features provide better sleep tracking and real-time heart rate monitoring respectively.
- The newer update has also introduced SpO2 tracking for these bands. It detects the oxygen levels in your blood. It also displays notifications like caller ID, SMS, and notifications from other third-party apps.
You can check our other articles on Fitness Bands in the ‘Health‘ section.