Health and fitness tracking Many sports watches monitor a set of basic health and fitness metrics. In more basic terms, these can include things like the steps taken, the distance traveled, the calories burned, and the heart rate. Steps and calories are just the tip of the iceberg. If you're looking for a fitness tracker, you're probably looking for a device that can measure statistics related to fitness, such as steps taken and calories burned.
While these are useful metrics for keeping track of when you want to get in shape with the help of technology, you might not realize how many other things portable devices can measure. It probably sounds familiar to you, since just about any activity-tracking device includes step tracking. Activity trackers, smartwatches and many smartphones include accelerometers that can measure your movement and, in turn, provide you with statistics such as steps per day. You're probably familiar with the benchmark of 10,000 steps per day (which equates to a little less than 5 miles).
Practically any tracking device, even the Fitbit Zip with clip, can help you track your progress toward this goal or any other personal goal you've set for yourself. Controlling the amount of calories burned during a workout can be very helpful, especially if you're looking to lose weight. Fortunately, this metric is another basic statistic for fitness trackers, so you should find it in just about every option that appears on your shopping comparison list. Unlike fitness trackers, smartwatches focus on wearing smartphone-like alerts directly on the wrist, so you can see information such as incoming text messages, calls, emails and upcoming calendar events at a glance.
That doesn't mean they can't track activity metrics either. Trackers that rely solely on step counting are, at best, a rough guide. Those based on the wrist are extrapolated from arm movements, which can also be inaccurate. As a general rule of thumb for encouraging daily activity, these metrics are fine, but as a precise measure of distance they can be quite useless.
However, to be fair, given how novel wearable technology is, they have come a long way in a short time in terms of accuracy. We've tested dozens of portable devices to help you find the one that best fits your lifestyle, whether it's a smartwatch for everyday use, a fitness tracker or a running watch. This cardiovascular fitness score is a measure of your cardiovascular status based on your VO2 max (the maximum amount of oxygen your body can use when you exercise at maximum intensity) and can be found in the heart rate section of the Fitbit app. Most GPS watches even offer a change in settings to prefer cycling to running, and more expensive triathlon-oriented watches also have swimming modes.
The best fitness trackers also use software, social media connections and progressive goals to continue to advance people in their fitness level.