Go into a gym now and it seems like almost everyone has one. If you don’t but are considering it here’s the low down before you part with £100-£500 of your money!
- Accountability. They can keep you on track. You think you’ve walked loads today – well the step counter will either confirm that or demonstrate you have not! The heart rate monitor will give an idea of calories burnt, active minutes etc. Warning – these figures are not overly accurate and many watches over egg how many calories you have burnt (I would use a TDEE calculator to work out roughly how many calories you need to eat over a watches figures). They do however help show patterns so you can check day on day to see if you have been more or less active than normal to keep yourself accountable / honest with yourself.
- Support. Most watches have communities you can join (with friends or strangers – I’ve made friends in other countries through Fitbit!) and compete on step counts or activity levels to keep you motivated.
- Motivation. You pay a lot of money for a watch. Chances are you will use it so it could be a good tool to keep you focused on your health and fitness goals.
- The Extras. As well as the data the watch collects many watches have other features (such as tracking your menstrual cycle for females on the Fitbit – one of the best features of the Fitbit app for me) which can be really useful depending on your aims / lifestyle.
- Connectivity. Depending on which watch you plump for you can connect it to your text messages, emails, music – for me this is annoying, for some this is amazing and convenient!
- GPS. Not many of the main brands have built in GPS but almost all now connect to your mobile phone really easily so you can track runs, rides etc.
- They tell the time. Sounds so ridiculous but actually I never wore a watch until I got a tracker.
- They aren’t very accurate. Taken on face value they could give you a very misleading idea of how many calories you are burning, if you base your calorie in take around this figure alone this could lead to you thinking you are in a calorie deficit when you are not (clue – if you are putting on weight even though you think you are in a deficit you are not in a deficit). They can also be inaccurate with how many steps you do (try waving your arm around and watch your steps increase) although they give a good idea.
- They are not always the most attractive of watches To be fair some brands are more aesthetically pleasing than others and they are certainly starting to look less bulky as the technology develops, but generally they are not a fashion statement.
- They can get addictive. Like anything constantly having access to so much data about your activity can lead to an obsessive checking in.
- Cost. If all you want to do is check how many steps you do a day this is an expensive way to do it. Most phones have apps which will do this already installed these days.
I have a Fitbit Charge 3 (previously I had a Surge) and I’ve heard a lot of good things about Apple watches but there is a wide range of brands and styles available now so the best thing if you are looking to buy one would be have a look at the features of a few different ones and pick the one that sounds and looks most appealing to you.