It’s hard to know how to step up your workout when you feel like you’re already doing as much as you can. Luckily, a great smart watch can help you set new goals – and meet them. From step tracking while you run errands to keeping an eye on your heart rate, the right smart watch is the perfect accoutrement for maximizing your day.
Smart watches to break down your routine
The biggest benefit of using a smart watch to track your workout is being able to get a minute-by-minute breakdown. How many steps did you take? How high did your heart rate go, or how many calories did you burn? Which section of your workout worked best for you?
For an all-around smart watch that you can use while working out and during your everyday life, a lot of tech lovers opt for something simple: the Apple Watch. The current Apple Watch incarnation is the Series 3, which has an enhanced Heart Rate app and GPS tracking.
Another great smart watch option is the Fitbit Charge 2. It’s designed for everyday wear, but optimized for your workout. The Charge 2 tracks activity, steps, and stairs, and the FitBit app helps break down your cardiovascular fitness. (It even includes tips on how to improve your heart health over time.) For everyday ease, the Charge 2 charges in 2-3 hours and lasts for 5-7 days, with an OLED display and Bluetooth connectivity.
Both of these smart watches offer something more than just fitness, too: they help you track your sleep. (The Apple Watch needs additional app(s) to do this.) Maximizing your sleep is going to help you maximize your workout, too, so it’s an important change that your smart watch can make not just on your workout – but also on your lifestyle.
The perfect sport-specific smart watch
If you’re focusing more on how your smart watch can help your workout than you are how it can improve your boredom in meetings (what? We all need a way to check Twitter when you’re 40 minutes in with no end in sight), there are a lot of watch options designed with you in mind.
For instance: an all-around “athletic type” might enjoy the Garmin fenix 5S 42mm Multisport GPS Watch with Heart Rate Monitor, which tracks your progress different sports. (Some of the options include swimming, skiing and snowboarding, rowing, paddle boarding, and golf.) Because each of these sports uses different parts of your body, the watch needs to utilize different parts of its metrics in order to give you an accurate reading of how you did during your session. (It’ll use its altimeter and barometer more frequently during a skiing session than it would in a golf session, for instance.)
Because the fenix 5S is so versatile, it needs a lot of functions. Not only does it cover your standard activity tracking and step counting, but it also uses GPS and GLONASS reception for accurate satellite GPS tracking. It has an altimeter, a barometer, and a compass, plus heart rate monitoring that doesn’t require a chest strap. And, because it’s able to track swim sessions, it’s also water resistant to 100 metres.
But here’s the thing: the brand is so focused on fitness that it offers different watches for different sports. Don’t need to track your swimming? The Garmin Approach S20 Golf GPS Watch prioritizes something else: golf. Built-in GPS “lets you know how far you are from the pin, hazards, and more,” while the watch’s AutoShot Round Analyzer “detects every swing, measuring the shot distance and recording the data for you to study later.” So not only can you maximize your workout, you can maximize your golf game, too. (And I say that with a degree of irony: while I will admit that golf is technically a sport, I will defend to my grave that it is a sport only insomuch as a tomato is a fruit.)
Focus on your heart rate with your smart watch
One of the biggest surprises for new smart watch users is often the fact that not all smart watches have the ability to track your heart rate. Take the Fitbit Alta, for instance. It’s affordable, customizable, and thin: meaning it can be worn by both men and women. (A thicker band often pinches or chafes on a thinner wrist, but not the other way around.)
But the Alta is lacking one thing: it can’t track your heart rate. Instead, if you want to get a quantitative look at your beats per minute (and, as an extension, get a more accurate estimation of how many calories you’re burning), you’ll need to go for the Fitbit Alta HR. The Alta HR offers the same great tracking options, but it also comes equipped with a heart rate monitor.
Having trouble telling the Alta apart from the Alta HR? The original Alta has a single-direction pattern pressed into the silicone, and snaps in place with little studs. The Alta HR, on the other hand, interrupts its diagonal pattern with horizontal lines around the tracker’s digital face, and clasps with a traditional watch clasp. The PurePulse Heart Rate functionality of the Fitbit Alta HR lets you monitor your heart rate, and the Fitbit app automatically shows you your target heart rate zones – streamlining your workout without the need for any extra effort on your part.
Track your route with a GPS smart watch
Many companies offer GPS functionalities in their smart watches, but Garmin (again) is a brand that really focuses on it. The Garmin Forerunner 35 GPS Watch prioritizes its GPS tracking abilities, which help you streamline and target your route.
Not only does a GPS help you direct your way through a walking, jogging, or running path, but it also helps you stick to a path that’s just the right length. If you have a pre-planned route of a certain length, knowing exactly how to stick to it will let you compare your progress day by day, and hit the sweet spot of getting in a run that’s just the right length.
GPS tracking is awesome if you don’t know where you’re headed, too. Being able to look at that data after the fact will allow you to troubleshoot your stats for the day. For instance: if your run was particularly hard one day but took about the same amount of time as usual, maybe it was because you were on a bit of an incline the whole time but hadn’t noticed it. Or, if you hit the perfect workout day but aren’t quite sure what path you took to get there, your post-run stats will help you repeat the magic for your next run.
Smart watches can help you get the most out of your workout, whatever that workout may be – and lifestyle functions like music control, GPS, and sleep monitoring will help you round it out.
Shop smart watches and fitness trackers at Best Buy online today.