ou won’t be able to fully appreciate the results of your workout or your chosen outdoor sport if you cannot quantify it in any way. This is where the various fitness monitors come in. They let you track your progress and provide a yardstick for you to base on when making the necessary adjustments in your level of physical activity. What are the general types of fitness monitors that you should have, and what should you keep in mind when picking them out?
GENERAL TYPES OF FITNESS MONITORS
Here is a general overview of the fitness monitors currently available.
- Activity Trackers: Probably the most straightforward, these measure your level of activity: your steps, the distance traveled, as well as calories burned. They also sometimes act as alarm clocks and can monitor your sleep.
- Altimeter Watches: Hikers, skiers, and climbers who are headed to higher or elevated locations require an altimeter. These record barometric pressure readings and temperature. The more advanced models also include a compass and ascent/descent information.
- Chronograph Watches: Chronograph watches range from a simple digital watch with a stopwatch to water-resistant multifunction watches with lap-split capabilities. The most advanced ones even qualify as mini-computers. They are used for running, walking, and swimming, although some are also designed for everyday use. They are generally low-cost and small and convenient to wear. However, they provide limited training benefit.
- Fitness Assessment Monitors: These monitors zero in on your weight, body fat, blood pressure, and/or oxygen saturation levels. Examples include a fat loss monitor (which also measures your body mass index), a body composition monitor (which also measures your skeletal muscles as well as resting metabolism), a fat loss monitor, a blood pressure monitor, and an oximeter, among others.
- Heart Rate Monitors: Used to measure heart rate in real time, heart rate monitors provide data that can be useful in maintaining one’s optimum training level. They either come in a chest-strap version with a wristwatch receiver, or a strapless fingertip sensor that resembles a wristwatch. Cyclists, runners, walkers, and fitness enthusiasts need this to regulate their workout. The most advanced models also have speed-and-distance-monitor features.
- Pedometers: These record your steps or motion, and calculate it to miles, giving you a progress report on the distance walked for a specific period of time. The basic models can be clipped to your belt or waistband, although the more advanced models can be handheld or carried in the pocket, or even designed as wristwatches.
- Speed and Distance Monitors (SDMs): A must for competitive runners, walkers and cyclists, speed and distance monitors can be one of two types: a GPS-driven SDM that comes in the form of a wristwatch, or an accelerometer SDM that is attached to the foot or the bike, and transmits data to a monitor around your wrist. The GPS-based SDMs offer more accuracy and are more comfortable to wear; they are, however, more expensive.
HOW TO CHOOSE A FITNESS MONITOR
In choosing a fitness monitor, you have to take the following into account.
Type of activity. More than anything else, what type of activity will you engage in? Surely you won’t require an altimeter if you’re simply going to be working out at the gym or do some distance running, would you?
Frequency of usage and level of activity. If you are a competitive runner, or you are frequently engaging in any of these activities, you would naturally prefer fitness monitors that would last a long time. Choose the heavy duty monitors that also have added features and capabilities.
Convenience and ease of use. As much as possible, you do not want to wear something cumbersome or heavy. Choose a monitor that is comfortable to use or to wear so it won’t become a hindrance in your activity.
Your budget. The more advanced models of these fitness monitors obviously cost more.
TRACK YOUR PROGRESS WITH FITNESS MONITORS
If you are serious about your chosen sport or physical activity, monitoring your progress is very important. Make sure you have the right fitness monitors to bring with you on one of your jaunts outdoors.