Pedometers were the very first activity trackers dating all the way back to Thomas Jefferson in 1785. However, evidence shows Leonardo da Vinci first came up with the concept of the pedometer. Activity trackers have come a long way since those days, and offer quite a few features to choose from. Polar was a pioneer offering the first watch-style heart rate monitor in the nineties and geared towards athletes, then Fitbit came on the scene in 2007 focusing on non-athletes that simply want to lose weight. Devices have continued advancing over the years offering a large number of metrics as they pertain to certain sports.
I break activity trackers into 2 categories:
1) Those focused on activity for weight lose
2) Those focused on training for sport
Weight Loss vs. Sport
The first group focuses on helping average people lose weight by staying active. They encourage setting a goal of reaching a certain number of steps in a day. They typically track the number of steps walked, heart rate, distance, calories burned, quality of sleep, and various combinations of these statistics. Most sync up with your phone or computer allowing you to log additional items like your food, weight and activities. This can serve as a tool when combined with a balanced fitness and healthy eating program.
The second is designed to help athletes improve performance. This not only includes a heart rate monitor, but will often include advanced fitness metrics like speed, VO2 max, and lactate threshold. But I find the compass, GPS, temperature gauge, altimeter, and barometer useful for most outdoor adventures, if only for safety alone. I personally like to hike wilderness areas and if I got lost, I could be out there for a while. A compass is obviously invaluable especially when paired with a map, and a GPS unit can guide you back the same route you came.
If you frequent mountainous regions, the altimeter comes in handy for ascents and descents, giving you a potential heads up when estimating return times. Also, the barometer can help predict an incoming storm before you find yourself in a compromised situation. I could have used one on a previous backpacking trip. Everything ended up working out fine, but it could easily have turned out to be a horrible experience instead of the awesome one it was. What’s stopping you from living your life to the optimum?
*The mentioning of this fitness equipment company in this article is for the sole purpose of helping the reader to locate similar products mentioned in this article. I do not receive any compensation for my endorsement.
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