Just like with any device, fitness trackers can be extremely helpful depending on your needs and desires! If you do end up buying a fitness tracker for yourself, what are the main pros and cons to be aware of? Here are the most important things to know about how a fitness tracker can be helpful to you.
Fitness trackers can help to track your calories burned, your active heart rate, and your weight loss. These devices also have cons in how they can be costly, run out of battery, or break. Even though they have a mix of pros and cons, fitness trackers can be worth it if you need them.
What makes fitness trackers so useful to new and experienced athletes? What are some of the lesser-known downsides to using fitness trackers? Let’s go over in depth the various positives and negatives of fitness trackers.
The Pros of Fitness Trackers
Flexibility in Tracking Your Workouts
One of the biggest benefits of buying and using a fitness tracker of any kind is that it can record and keep track of all your physical activities! From sports to casual walks to gym visits, a fitness tracker can track all your burned calories.
Most fitness trackers are built with a plethora of sensors that can measure your activities with just the press of a button. A common fitness tracker is a three-axis accelerometer that can track both forward and backward movement. This device can even record your gravity, body orientation, and speed changes!
Some fitness trackers are built to be even more durable and versatile to meet your needs. There are sweat-resistant, waterproof, and extra durable fitness trackers that are built to record your workouts in water, on land, and at home. If needed, you can even use fitness trackers that wrap around your wrist, arm, or chest if necessary.
Some fitness trackers will also be built with temperature, altimeter, gyroscope, and optical sensors that can detect your daily steps, body temperature, heart rate, sleep, and more! Make sure to read the manual of whatever fitness tracker you get so you can learn about its full capabilities.
Keep Track of Your Progress While Accomplishing Fitness Goals
It is nearly impossible to achieve any goal if you don’t keep track of your progress and make sure you’re improving fast enough to meet your goal deadlines. Fitness trackers are the best way to record your workouts and update you on your goal progress.
Fitness trackers will always tend to be more accurate in keeping track of your goals than mere pencil and paper. Modern fitness trackers can even sync with fitness apps that are made to help you remember and reach your fitness goals.
No matter what your fitness goal may be, from building endurance to burning calories or increasing strength, your fitness tracker will help you get there! Your health goal could even be to get more sleep or to walk a set amount of steps per day, and a fitness tracker will help you stay motivated as you watch your progress move forward.
Fitness Trackers Will Help You Train More Effectively
On the plus side, these fitness trackers can increase the effectiveness of your training.
If you have access to your workout and health data, this can help you recognize what habits are working for you and which aren’t.
With the help of fitness trackers, you’ll be able to determine what exercises have a higher impact on your health. This means you’ll be able to better focus on the best physical activities while minimizing less time on activities with lower outputs. By doing this, you’ll be able to follow the 80/20 rule. This rule states that 80 percent of your success often comes from a mere 20 percent of your efforts toward your chosen goal.
To avoid performing exercises and training incorrectly, invest in yourself by investing in a fitness tracker!
Fitness Trackers Can Help Summarize Your Overall Health
Instead of using tons of fitness and health apps, try out using a simple fitness tracker to keep track of your heart rate, sleeping hours, blood oxygen levels, and more! Since fitness trackers offer you so much accurate health data right at your wrist, you can put forward minimal effort as you track your total health levels.
Even if wearing the fitness tracker consistently feels like a burden, it’s often worthwhile. If you try to wear it for a few days straight, it will soon become a habit and feel like second nature to wear a tracker on your wrist while you work out or sleep.
Fitness trackers are often the best way to track your health since they do the heavy lifting in the back while you are accomplishing everything you want to. Usually, the more premium a tracker is, the more health data it offers and the more reliable the readings on it will be.
More Accountability with Fitness Trackers
Accountability is one of the leading and most prominent pros of fitness trackers. These trackers can be the perfect push to get you to start your workout and continue your gym schedule. Nearly all fitness trackers are built to be compatible with third-party apps. These integrated apps are often able to post your workout sessions and challenges to your friends and family, helping to hold yourself accountable for your fitness goals.
Research has indicated that social touches found in your fitness tracker and fitness apps significantly help you to perform exercises consistently. All of this accountability that can come of fitness trackers is a huge pro that can help you end your lazy streak and get back in the gym.
The Cons of Fitness Trackers
Costs Can Be High
One of the top and biggest cons when it comes to fitness trackers is the price tag. Thankfully, most basic and general fitness trackers are often cheaper than more complicated smartwatches on the market. However, their entry price is still important for you to consider. There is a big difference between smartwatches and fitness trackers. Fitness trackers usually have a more notable aesthetic and have more features than some smartwatches.
Lots of fitness tracking apps are also ready to use on the iOS App Store or Google Play for free, so at least the cost can be somewhat mitigated with these helpful tools. It is best practice to think about what you most value and want to get out of your fitness tracker experience before you jump into buying a pricey fitness device.
Fitness trackers can span in prices online from the more affordable and simple to the expensive and more complex. These pieces of hardware can span from as low as $15 to as much as $120 and more. It all depends on what you want out of the electronic.
Sometimes if you find the functionality you are seeking in a smartphone app, you can also save a lot of money by using an app in place of a fitness tracker. It could even make more sense for you and your bank account to get a social workout app to train with your friends instead of buying a new fitness tracker.
If the price of a fitness tracker isn’t worth it for you and your budget, consider just skipping owning a tracker or smartwatch entirely. Both types of hardware can be rather expensive, and if you have a lot of natural motivation, just try to work it out on your own or with friends!
Fitness Trackers Collect and Store Up Your Personal Health Data
Whether you decide to start using a Fitbit or an Apple smartwatch, any kind of electronic recording device is going to store your data. The question is whether or not you are okay with the device collecting your data. It could also be important for you to know where your fitness health data is going.
One example of this is Google’s data collection practices. Plenty of people don’t enjoy or don’t agree with the intrusion on their lives through the collection of personal data from some companies. If this is the case for you, you may pass on purchasing and buying a fitness tracking device since data collecting is a big con to you.
Trackers Can Be Inaccurate
Unfortunately, one of the few downsides of fitness trackers is that their results are not always 100 percent accurate all of the time. Most fitness trackers are not nearly as accurate as tools and devices found in hospitals or the likes of electronics used by professional trainers.
These inaccuracies happen thanks to fitness trackers’ sensor readings being inaccurate since they are not regulated as devices for taking accurate clinical diagnoses.
The level of fitness trackers can vary greatly from device to device and brand to brand. Trackers can tend to overestimate or underestimate calories burned and levels of deep sleep. It all depends on your type of exercise and the metrics that you’re choosing to measure and focus on.
Some scientists have discovered that fitness trackers tend to be inaccurate by more than 10 percent while measuring the total energy expenditure of the athlete using them. Inaccuracies like these may be one of the main reasons why you choose to forego and avoid using fitness trackers or using them to compete in step challenges and other competitions that depend on accuracy.
Trackers Can Fuel an Unhealthy Obsession with Numbers
While tracking various health metrics can encourage you to keep up with workout routines and to keep on improving, there is a con to them too. You can easily become obsessed with the numbers of fitness tracking since it is so easy to see them day by day and week by week on your wrist, phone, or other device.
You run the risk of becoming so fixated on losing a certain amount of calories, losing a certain amount of pounds, walking a set number of steps, or hitting a specific heart rate while working out per day that the numbers become crushing. Your most important goal of improving your overall wellness can get obscured and hidden by the number game of fitness tracking.
Fitness Trackers can fuel a negative numbers obsession if you start to measure your self-worth by your statistics too. Worries like these could lead to unhealthy habits, thoughts, and feelings.
You could end up hurting yourself by ignoring the warning signs of your body to slow down if you insist on hitting unrealistic stats and numbers thanks to your fitness tracker.
Battery Life Can Run Down Quickly
One of the worst downsides of using a fitness tracker is that it can run out of battery entirely and be rendered useless. When you purchase a fitness tracker, no matter what type or brand it may be, it is still yet another device you need to charge daily.
Unique chargers need to be purchased for smartwatches and fitness trackers. This can add to the tangle of wires on your bedside table and in your charging area for phones, laptops, and tablets.
Even if you charge fitness trackers every day, years of use will run down the battery’s efficiency. Sometimes, if you use your fitness tracking device for years and years, the battery will hold less and less of a charge. It can become very tiresome to charge a fitness tracker multiple times a day just so it can record your exercises!
When the battery does eventually run down, you may decide to buy a new fitness tracker as a replacement. Some people may decide to not buy a fitness tracker since they know they’ll eventually have to replace it.
Fitness Trackers Run the Risk of Breaking
Finally, one of the worst parts of owning a fitness tracker is its potential fragility. If fitness trackers are not housed in protective cases or treated harshly, they could all too easily break on you! Try to avoid dropping a fitness tracker, and never submerge a fitness tracker if it isn’t waterproof.
At the end of the day, it may be best to try out a fitness tracker for yourself to determine if it is helpful enough for your daily and athletic needs.