"The groundwork of all happiness is health." - Leigh Hunt

Thinking of using an activity tracker to achieve your exercise goals? Here's where it might help — and where it probably won't

This is the time of 12 months when many individuals start working on their resolutions for the approaching 12 months. Doing more physical activity is one other popular one. Worthwhile the aim

If you're hoping to be more lively in 2024, you've probably invested in an activity tracker, or are considering purchasing one.

But what are the advantages of activity trackers? And will a basic tracker do the trick, or do you would like a elaborate one with a lot of features? Let's have a look.

Why use an activity tracker?

certainly one of the The most powerful prophecy To be lively or not. You are monitoring How lively are you?

Most people have a vague idea of ​​how lively they're, but this is commonly inaccurate. Once people start consciously tracking how much activity they do, they often know it's lower than they thought, and this motivates them to be more lively.

You can monitor yourself without an activity tracker (just by writing down what you do), but this method is difficult to keep up over long periods of time and is way less accurate than devices that track your every move. Track 24/7.

Being lively has necessary health advantages.
Anatoly Karliuk/Shutterstock

By tracking steps or “activity minutes” you'll be able to determine in the event you're meeting him or not. Physical activity guidelines (150 minutes of moderate-vigorous physical activity per week).

It also means that you can track the way you're progressing with any personal activity goals, and see your progress over time. All this is able to be difficult without an activity tracker.

Research has shown that the most well-liked brands of activity trackers are generally reliable in the case of tracking basic measures equivalent to steps And Activity minutes.

But wait, there's more.

Many activity trackers available on the market today track a variety of other measures that their manufacturers tout as necessary in monitoring health and fitness. But is it really so? Let's take a look at a few of them.

Resting heart rate

This is your heart rate at rest, which is normally somewhere between Between 60 and 100 beats per minute. Your resting heart rate will progressively decrease as you get fitter, especially in the event you're doing high-intensity exercise. Your risk of dying from any cause (all-cause mortality) is way lower when you may have a Low resting heart rate.

Therefore, it is beneficial to maintain track of your resting heart rate. Activity trackers are great at tracking this, but you'll be able to easily measure your heart rate by monitoring your pulse and using a stopwatch.

Heart rate during exercise

Activity trackers will even measure your heart rate once you're lively. To effectively improve fitness, skilled athletes deal with getting their heart rate up.Zones“When they're exercising — it's necessary to know their heart rate during exercise.

But in the event you just wish to be more lively and healthy, with no specific training goal in mind, you'll be able to exercise at a level that feels good to you and never worry about your heart rate during activity. . gave The most important thing It's that you simply're moving.

Also, a dedicated heart rate monitor with a strap around your chest will do a significantly better job of measuring your actual heart rate. Comparison On an activity tracker worn around your wrist.

Maximum heart rate

When you're lively, your heart rate will be the highest it might be, not something you'll be able to sustain for long. Your maximum heart rate shouldn't be affected by how much you exercise, or your fitness level.

Most activity trackers Do not measure it accurately. Anyway, so you would possibly as well ignore it.

A hand with a smart watch stretched around the wrist.
Many activity trackers measure heart rate.


Your muscles need oxygen to work. The more oxygen your body can process, the harder you'll be able to work, and subsequently the fitter you're.

VO₂max is the quantity (V) of oxygen (O₂) that we are able to breathe as much (max) as possible over a one-minute interval, expressed as milliliters of oxygen per kilogram of body weight per minute (ml/kg/min). ) is completed as Inactive men and women can have a VO₂ max of lower than 30 and 40 ml/kg/min, respectively. A fairly good VO₂max could be mid-thirties and better for ladies and mid-forties and better for men.

VO₂max is one other measure of fitness. Relates well With all-cause mortality: the upper it's, the lower your risk of dying.

For athletes, VO₂max is normally measured within the lab on a treadmill while wearing a mask that measures oxygen consumption. Activity trackers as a substitute take a look at your running speed (using a GPS chip) and your heart rate and compare these measures to other people's values.

If you'll be able to run faster with a lower heart rate, your tracker will think you're relatively fit, leading to the next VO₂ max. These are estimates. Not very accurate As they're based on many assumptions. However, measurement error in all fairness consistent. This signifies that in case your VO₂max is progressively increasing, you're prone to improve.

So what's the take home message? Focus on what number of steps you're taking every day or the variety of minutes of activity you get. Even a basic activity tracker will measure these aspects relatively accurately. There's no real have to pay more for an activity tracker that tracks and records other steps, unless you're really serious about exercise.