What is a fitness tracker?

Technological advancement has given rise to many smart applications that not only improve efficiency but also make tracking and monitoring of different activities easier.

It’s always important to monitor your progress as far as your health and fitness regimen is concerned.

A fitness tracker is therefore that application or device used in tracking and monitoring fitness goals.

It measures metrics such as distance run or walked, rate of heartbeat, calories consumed and sometimes even the quality of your sleep.

Most of these tracking devices are wirelessly synchronized to a smartphone or computer for the purposes of regular data tracking and reporting.

In many cases, people have fitness goals or targets, whether monthly or on a daily basis, that they hope
to achieve.

Monitoring the progress of your fitness regimen can be a challenge especially if you are not a certified fitness trainer or health practitioner.

Fitness tracking devices give you the capability to monitor your progress and determine how far you are from meeting your targets, or if indeed you achieved or exceeded them.

Most of them are wearable and can also serve as regular digital watches.

Some people wear them as accessories because of their fashion forward designs.

These devices have become so main stream that some firms have decided to use them in encouraging consumers to live healthily.

The electronic fitness trackers are basically an advanced version of pedometers.

Apart from counting steps, they also use accelerometers to determine distance covered, graph general physical activity and calculate calorie usage.

In some cases they also keep track of and graph quality of sleep and heart rate.

As you go about your fitness routines, there are various activities that you engage in such as walking, running, swimming, jogging, bike rides and normal house chores.

It is important that you stay true to your goals and monitor your progress because that is the only way you’ll be able to achieve your objectives.

A fitness tracker is an ideal way to easily monitor your activity with great accuracy.

You can imagine it to be an electronic finger on your pulse, measuring your vitals on a regular basis.

These trackers have made use of the latest technology to enable fitness enthusiasts monitor their activities and keep track of their progress.

Most people spend so much time on their smartphones or tablets which is why fitness trackers are synchronized with these devices for report displays.

Trackers can also be connected to social media apps like Facebook but one has to be careful since there are some instances when private information has ended up in the internet and public domain.

There are different trackers available in the market and people can therefore make buying decisions based on prices, functionality and personal style.

How Does a Fitness Tracker Work?

It’s always good to be curious about how things work because then you begin to properly understand
the significance of their functions.

A fitness tracker sits perfectly on your wrist, counting the number of steps you make, measuring calorie expenditure and monitoring the quality of your sleep.

Yet just how exactly does this gadget collect information and relay it to your smartphone?

To explain it simply, fitness tracking devices measure motion.

Most of the current trackers have accelerometers that track movements in all directions.

Some also measure orientation using a gyroscope.

The data gathered is afterwards converted into activity and steps and then sleep quality and calories.

Some assumptions are made on the way to arriving at these information.

The altimeter, as the name suggests, is a feature used for measuring altitude.

It is very important in measuring the heights of mountains when you are working out at high altitudes and the number of flights of stairs taken in a day.

All these information is gathered and compiled to create a general reading.

The accuracy of the data will increase with the number of sensors that your tracker has.

The sensors of the tracking device determine acceleration, duration, frequency, intensity and movement

All this data collected together improves the accuracy of your tracker reading.

The sensors will collect information whether you are enjoying evening walks or just dancing to your favourite music.

Other trackers have temperature sensors that check the body temperature alongside bio-impedance sensors that measure the resistance of the skin to small electric currents.

Some fitness trackers make use of optical or light sensors to measure pulse by shining light on the skin.

The light illuminates capillaries as the sensors take measurements of how fast your blood is flowing and subsequently the rate of your heartbeat.

These sensors come in handy when you are working out and want to monitor your heartbeat.

Bio-impedance sensors are however more effective in gauging your general health.

When monitoring the quality of your sleep, the trackers use a process known as actigraphy to translate
wrist movements into patterns of sleep.

It will ideally measure how much you toss and turn in your sleep.

To measure the amount of calories burned, a tracker will add heart rate data and amount of perspiration into the algorithm plus the number of steps taken.

Fitness trackers use algorithms that differ slightly to convert raw data into real statistics.

Different trackers have different thresholds for collecting information and that’s why some trackers will ignore a
small body movement like stretching while others will record it.

This has an effect on the accuracy of the final data presented.

As you purchase your fitness tracking device, you’ll be asked about your age, weight, height and gender in order to find one that greatly suits you.

The final link in this chain is the smartphone app.

Once the data goes through numerous algorithms and then refined appropriately, it is presented in a format that is user-friendly.

A lot of fitness tracking applications also come with the capability of adding data manually.

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