You’ve probably seen them on more and more people’s wrists – but is it really worth getting a fitness tracker? In this guest post Susan explains the difference hers has made.
When my husband bought me a fitness tracker for Christmas I was surprised as I’d probably never have considering buying myself a fitness gadget.
I’m one of the ‘worried well’. I know I should be more active, but in the past I’ve tended to do very little about it other than occasional gym trips and trying to avoid using the car.
Now I wouldn’t be without my tracker.
What does a fitness tracker actually do?
The one my husband bought me was a Garmin Vívosmart and it couldn’t have been easier to set up. It was simple too to link to my Android MotoG smartphone and My Fitness Pal – one of those apps that lets you count the calories in a wide range of food that you eat.
This makes it incredibly simple to keep a close eye on what you eat and how much of it you’re burning off through exercise.
Step tracking is a great feature, and I was happy to see that simply running around after two small children (and a husband) meant I did better than the 10,000 steps a day that the NHS suggests we could set ourselves as a challenge to stay healthy. And on days when I do fall short of that figure, I know with a quick glance that I just need to make an extra trip to the shops.
The tracker that I have, like many others, also lets you easily see how well you’re sleeping over days, weeks and months. I had thought that I lay awake for hours each night, but in fact it was only minutes. The fact that I slept a lot better than I realised reduced my anxiety over sleeping enough and as a result, I sleep even better. A virtuous circle.
And it’s not just about health. I work at home and am also out and about ferrying children, so the swipe function enabling you to have a quick look at texts and emails without getting your phone out is a great bonus.
I also like a tracker’s discreet design, and its time and date display means I’ve been able to ditch my watch.
Is it worth it?
There are downsides. It can be frustrating, especially when there are syncing issues. And some people might not like the ‘insight’ summaries and motivational messages that some trackers (including mine) send to your smartphone. These can include telling you your day isn’t as active as usual and to go for a walk. I like them, though.
So has it changed what I do?
We all some know that some presents look good on Christmas Day but are soon relegated to the corner of a drawer. But I’m happy to report that six months on I still use my tracker religiously every day.
And it really has made a difference.
I now take the stairs rather than the lift to increase my number of steps and make numerous trips to the shops to ensure I’m on track.
And I feel happier. I worried in the past that I was a couch potato, sitting down all day at work. Now I know how much I move. And the step count ensures that if I’ve had a ‘sedentary day’ I know to go for a quick walk after tea to sort it out.
Now I just need to persuade my husband to buy me a version that also monitors heart rate!
This is a guest post by Susan Jones. All opinions are Susan’s own, not necessarily those of Which?.
We want to hear from you about your experiences with using a fitness tracker – good and the bad. Have you found any real changes, such as feeling fitter or perhaps losing a few pounds?