Spotlight on… Fitness Trackers

Once upon a time, the best way to keep track of your fitness was a pedometer. It was nothing more than a small screen with a number that listed how many steps you’d taken since you last reset it. These days, as we’ve learnt to compress more and more technology into smaller spaces, we now have “smart” pedometers, or to use a more accurate term, fitness trackers.

These little babies do so much more than measure how many steps you take. These days, they can measure your heart rate, detect when you’re walking up stairs instead of on flat ground, provide an estimate of calories burnt, and even track your sleeping patterns. This data can be uploaded online, where you can add additional details such as the food you ate or other activities you may have done during the day such as cycling or swimming.

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As you can guess, all this data combined makes for a very comprehensive overview of your overall health. So below is a quick round-up of some of the most popular ones on the market to date.

Fitbit One

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During the day it measures the steps you take, stairs you climb, distance you travel and calories you burn. At night, it can be strapped to your wrist to keep track of how well you sleep (by the amount of movement it detects). It even wakes you up with an alarm in the morning!

Behind the scenes, it also automatically syncs with any iDevices and Samsung Android devices via Bluetooth, or with your computer via wireless.

The app also allows you to log everything you eat and drink, as well as other workouts, and displays everything in simple charts and graphs.


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Basis is designed to look like a watch, and it’s able to show the time. However, it has sensors underneath that measure your heart rate, perspiration, and even skin temperature. Like the Fitbit One, it can also measure your sleep patterns and syncs wirelessly or via Bluetooth.

But where the Fitbit One focuses on slicing and dicing the collected data, the Basis app is all about identifying patterns and habits in your routine. It suggests weekly goals based on this analysis, tailoring them depending on whether you’re managing to hit them consistently.

Although the form factor is chunkier than a normal watch, and certainly more noticeable than a small device you can slip into your pocket, the sleek design means that you can still wear the Basis in most situations without it looking out of place.

Motorola MotoActv

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This nifty little fitness tracker is more focused on the running group. Unlike the others listed here, it uses GPS tracking to calculate the distance of your run, though it does count the steps you take and estimates calories burned. The other differentiating feature is the MP3 player, so you can listen to music as you run. If you get lost, a glance at the map on the display should get you back on track.

The MotoActv can be attached to a watch band, an arm band, or even a bike mount if you prefer. It can also connect via Bluetooth to a heart rate monitor, headphones, or your smart phone. Like the others, data syncing is automatic, and you don’t even need a computer; it can upload the data directly to the MotoActv web portal via your router. The standard option of a Bluetooth sync through your phone is also available.

If you have it paired with your mobile, the MotoActv can display notifications of incoming texts, calls, and calendar alerts.

This is only a glimpse into the large range of fitness trackers available. Nothing is ever one-size-fits-all, and it’s important to do your research to determine which one best suits your lifestyle and exercise choices.

Do you have a favourite fitness tracker? Share with us in the comments!

Leanne Yong

Leanne Yong is an aspiring author currently working in the field of IT consulting. She loves games, gadgets and technology in general.

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