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What is an Activity Tracker?

activity trackerActivity trackers have been around in one form or another for several decades now but recent advancements in technology have made these gadgets explode in popularity. Some of the latest models feature smart watch technology designed to offer convenience while exercising. 2803

All About Activity Trackers – What They Are and What Do They Do

Activity trackers are small wearable devices that monitor metrics of physical performance in real time. These gadgets may be worn like a wristband watch, armband, or pendant around the neck. Some are designed to clip onto an article of clothing like a belt. No matter how fitness trackers are worn, they rely on the same basic technology – motion detection via a built-in accelerometer. Some devices also have an altimeter, which detects a rise in altitude to compute stair climbs. Majority of these gadgets are smart enough to know when you are moving with your feet and won’t track activity when the wearer is traveling on a vehicle or train. Unlike traditional pedometers, modern activity trackers not only count steps taken, but also aspects such as calorie burn, mileage, workout duration, heart rate, sleep quality as well as active and inactive minutes. 2802

Common Features to Expect in an Activity Tracker

Modern fitness trackers feature a digital screen that displays various fitness stats and buttons that allow you to operate the device. They can even help you set goals and receive reminder alerts that motivate you to keep moving. The best fitness trackers come with smartwatch capabilities as well. For instance, you can find fitness trackers that allow you to stream media files from a phone’s playlist. Others receive and display call, text and email notifications from your handset. 2801

Some types of fitness trackers are designed for specific sports. For example, waterproof models built to operate underwater without being damaged are great for swimmers. There are also fitness trackers known as cyclocomputers, which assist cyclists to track heart rate, pedaling cadence, training duration, distance travelled and speed. Cyclocomputers may require the use of a chest strap or wrist based pulse monitor to keep track of heart rate. These kinds of trackers have a magnetic sensors attached to the spoke of either the front or rear wheel to computer distance from wheel revolutions. GPS enabled models serve up route data and display it on the handlebar-mounted display head. 2800

Most of today’s activity trackers sync with phones and computers either wirelessly via Bluetooth technology or by way of a USB cable to facilitate transfer of recorded statistics to an app or web based service that stores training data for further analysis.

Good tracking software takes fitness activity data and tabulates the logged information into graphs and charts that let you track your progress over time. Other fitness tracking gadgets use software that supports sharing of information in community networks or social media sites like Twitter and Facebook. Such features let friends provide moral support and motivation when you share your results. 2799

Choosing the Right Activity Tracker

Now that you know what an activity tracker is, the function it serves and some of the common features to expect, you might decide to add this gadget to your arsenal of fitness gear. Fortunately, there many models to choose from, which come in different colors, styles and feature sets. The best activity tracker should be one that captures the kind of data that you want to monitor during your fitness training sessions. For instance, if you want to simply count daily steps, a basic pedometer will suffice. To track more fitness data, a smart watch would be the best option. Before making a purchase, remember also to compare brands and read customer reviews to determine whether a desired tracker will provide good value for your money.

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