Fitness trackers seem to be all the rage, but how exactly are they different from the fitness apps that have infiltrated the market? Are trackers more accurate than the apps? Find out the specific functions of these fitness bands and how well they capture data.
Differences Between a Fitness App & Fitness Tracker
Fitness apps tend to have two primary functions: to help you design workouts to fit your needs and to track data from your workouts and daily lifestyle. Some apps do not provide tailored exercises, but they all track your fitness in one way or another. Some require you to manually input all of your information, such as how far you ran or biked and for how long, which is tedious and hard to track. Others use a GPS signal to obtain this information.
If you are also interested in knowing how many calories you are consuming and burning, then you must input this manually when using a fitness app. People who are very serious about their health may be willing to do this, but the time-consuming nature of counting calories tends to turn people off. If you are solely interested in receiving a tailored daily workout, then a fitness app is what you need. Nike+ Training Club is a popular app with more than 100 workouts; it asks you for your fitness goals and tailors your workout accordingly. FitStar Personal Trainer asks you a series of simple questions to determine your needs and choose an adequate workout set. However, if you are looking for data tracking to help improve your health, you'll need a fitness tracker.
Fitness trackers are highly appealing because they do not require you to input information manually. Worn as a band on the wrist, these devices automatically and continuously receive data, which you can view on your computer or mobile device through a corresponding app. Some activity trackers even have a built-in screen to show your data.
The bands use built-in sensors and lights to read your pulse, record the number of steps you take, monitor your exercise sessions, and even track your sleep patterns. Fitness trackers are waterproof; thus, you should never need to remove yours while you work out. All you have to do is review your data reports from time to time, which supports you in making healthier decisions.
Are Fitness Trackers More Accurate?
Fitness trackers provide a more holistic report of your health, which gives you a more accurate picture of your current state and areas that you need to improve. Regarding the specific functions of an activity tracker, studies show that they are highly reliable. The only function that shows slight variability in the reports is sleep.
Some fitness trackers solely use an accelerometer to measure sleep, which only detects motion, but these are not as accurate as trackers with built-in heart rate monitors, which have 99 percent accuracy. Fitness apps that use a GPS to record data are reasonably accurate but sometimes vary depending on which app you use, such as MapMyFitness or Nike. When you manually input information into the app, the accuracy is in your hands, but this is a tedious process. Fitness trackers are both automatic and highly accurate, and each new generation of these trackers is even more accurate than the last.
It is difficult to pinpoint the best fitness tracker on the market, as they each have different functions. The Fitbit Flex is great for counting your steps, distance traveled, sleep patterns and calories burned. The Jawbone tracker is stylish with all the same functions plus mood tracking, but no heart rate monitor. There are many options, so you can determine the best one for your needs.