Do you need a fitness tracker?

Fitness trackers have come a long way in a few years, but depending on your workout regimen it may be an expense you don’t need.

Staff Writer
Staff Writer
 min read
July 1, 2022

Fitness trackers are all the rage these days, and it’d be fair to say that they’ve grown in utility in the last few years. Even Apple stumbled out of the gate somewhat with the first Apple Watch, while Fitbit’s modest wearables gained new features every year.

That little gadget on your wrist offers GPS tracking, tracks your calories burned, and can even tell you if your heartbeat has irregularities, but is it really necessary for a healthier lifestyle?

We’ve looked at the reasons you should invest in a fitness tracker, but there’s also a conversation to be had based on the types of exercise you do. It’d be fair to say that a fitness tracker will give you plenty of data about your lifestyle and exercise habits, but if you don’t need it, that’s an expense you can happily sidestep.

If you’re working on primarily cardiovascular exercise

Cardio workouts are great, because whether you’re cycling, walking, or running outdoors, there’s no real need for equipment. And yet, a fitness tracker does make an ideal workout companion if you want to break a sweat that way.

Why? Because a fitness tracker, be it a premium one or a cheaper option, will usually come with a heart-rate sensor and step tracker. Both are ideal for logging your runs, particularly in conjunction with a GPS tracker. That makes it easier to know when you’ve shaved off a few seconds from your 5K, or to tell you when you’re at your most efficient when halfway through a marathon.

If you’re lifting weights

There are a variety of excellent third-party apps that you can install on the Apple Watch, while many fitness trackers offer their own weightlifting exercise program, but in truth it really comes down to preference when you’re lifting weights.

As an example, an app can help calculate your one-rep maximum squat load, log your set, and let you know what muscles you’ve worked, you may already have the knowledge to make that calculation yourself, and your own personal way of logging it.

That can make having a fitness tracker feel a little superfluous if you already know what you’re doing, are sticking to a training plan, and are logging your results.

Wellness-focused activities

If you’re working on improving your mental health, or just taking a few minutes to find some calm on an otherwise busy day, a fitness tracker can be a great addition to a meditation routine.

Many fitness trackers offer an array of programs designed to help you unwind. These range from breathing exercises, to guided meditation, and plenty more. With that said, these can be platform agnostic – you don’t necessarily need a smartwatch to tell you how to breathe slowly, for example.

Some, like the Fitbit Sense, can track your stress levels, showing you where things got a little tougher than you’d perhaps like. Those data points can help inform lifestyle choices going forward.

That means your mileage will undoubtedly vary based on the tracker available, and your own use case.

Is a fitness tracker right for your workout? Let us know!

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