Updated: Jun 29, 2021
Back in those dusty bygone days of yesteryear a sports watch (aka fitness tracker) performed but two functions. The first function was that of telling the time. The second function was the chronograph – aka stopwatch. And that was pretty much your lot.
But thankfully modern training watches, which we now call fitness trackers, have undergone a monumental evolutionary transformation in technological advancement. And amazingly the average, run-of-the-mill fitness tracker possesses more computing power then was used to land a man on the moon!
Today even a cheap fitness tracker features a multitude of innovative and highly useful functions. For example, Garmin’s Forerunner 45S GPS (see inset image), which is more specifically designed for runners, not only tells the time but tracks your movement to a degree of accuracy that NASA of the 1960s could only dream of. In addition, it provides the user with precise readings regarding their vital statistics: heart rate, VO2-Max, training zones and calorie consumption. And, on top of all that, if receives text messages and calls!
And here we’ve only just scratched the surface of functions that the 5 fitness trackers featured in this article come equipped with.
However, not to get carried away, before purchasing a fitness tracker it would be wise firstly to consider what you want it for and which features/functions you are likely to use. Of course, the more functions a watch possess the more it typically costs. Also, for the Luddite or technically disinclined, more features could mean more confusion.
To help out below you will find a Buyer’s Guide which outlines essential features that a training watch should possess.
Buyer’s Guide – 3 essential features that a fitness tracker must possess
Stopwatch and lap timer
A bit of a no-brainer I know but beyond telling the time the chronograph – or stopwatch – is (in my opinion) the second most important function. A stopwatch is useful for many training eventualities, most notably timing fitness tests and tracking pacing.
Heart rate monitor
Monitoring the general fluctuations of the old ticker is beneficial beyond the bounds of physical training. Resting heart rate is a physiological biomarker that is used by the medical profession to gauge a person’s cardiovascular health. A high resting heart rate is associated with the onset of hypertension and CVD – cardiovascular disease. Thus, a watch equipped with a heart rate monitor also doubles up as a home health screening device.