With the spring almost upon us, now’s a great time to up your fitness game. Whether you’re in training for a race or sticking to a new year fitness drive, it makes sense to track your progress and keep reminding yourself of how well you’re doing. Mentally, it can be hard to keep at it, so why not employ a bit of tech to help you along the way? Along with their generally more featured and app led cousins smartwatches, these pieces of technology have come a long way in recent years, and with ever evolving health technology, they’re only likely to get more sophisticated and better tuned to your needs.
What kind of fitness tracker is for me?
Larger, and perhaps more cumbersome smartwatches boast many of the features of fitness trackers, but they’re often not designed with exercise in mind. Think about the activities you do on a regular basis – swimming will obviously need a waterproof tracker and many activity bands are waterproof up to 50m. If you run a lot, trackers such as the Garmin options have built-in Spotify music, which comes in really handy if you don’t want to take your phone around. All should have good heart rate monitors, but some have better GPS functions than others. Pay attention to how much you’d like to pay and compare trackers features carefully, as some of the more affordable options offer the same features as the more expensive alternatives.
FitBit Charge 3 – best all-round fitness tracker (from £129.99)
Huawei Band 4 Smart Watch – best lightweight option (from £39)
Borrowing from sister company Honor, who make budget versions of Huawei models, the Band 4 Smart Watch is similar to the Honor Band 5 and includes step tracking, heart rate tracking and a sleep monitor. It’s an affordable tracker and a good alternative to some other more expensive options on the list. We also really liked the fact that it doesn’t need a charger – it has got a built-in USB for charging on the go without the need to carry around leads.
Garmin Vivosmart 4 – best lightweight option (from £99)
Garmin are a tech leader in a number of fields, including mapping, GPS and navigation and avionic systems for aircraft, so it’s no surprise that many of their devices cater to the slightly higher end of the market and for specific niche sports. Not necessarily the case with the Vivosmart 4 however – at a relatively affordable price this slimline fitness tracker is a good bet for measuring oxygen levels, heart rates and stress levels, as well as being 5ATM waterproof compliant so perfect for keen swimmers.
Moov Now – best for no distraction (from £46)
Garmin Forerunner 245 Music – best running watch(from £249)
This is the updated version of the popular Garmin 235 running watch, and has for many years proved very popular with dedicated runners due to its accurate tracking, the ability to store music and connect to earbuds. Whatsmore, it even has the ability to connect to a Spotify Premium account so you can stream music on the go – a popular feature for those who have curated hours of running playlists. The battery life is first-rate and we particularly liked the ‘return to home’ feature which will return you to the start of the run using the navigation feature, meaning you can run wherever you like and always be able to find a way back.
OMRON Heart Guide – best medical fitness tracker (from £499)
Fitbit Inspire – best for design (from £89.99)
XPLORA Activity Band – best no frills fitness tracker (from £29.99)
Another offering at the lower end of the budget spectrum, this is a good first watch for people new to fitness trackers or for parents to buy for their children to enable them to understand their health better. It lacks some key features and some of the slick operation of some of the others on this list but it’s worth a recommendation for the price alone. XPLORA’s products are aimed at getting the younger generation interested in fitness trackers and health data, and it does what it says on the tin. A good budget tracker.