The first electronic device that tracked indicators of a person’s physical condition appeared in the second half of the 20th century. in astronautics.
With the development of nanotechnology, the designers managed to fit all the complex equipment into the watch case and wrist bracelet. Since that time, they have become the property of not only astronauts and athletes, but also any person who wants to lead a healthy lifestyle with a scientific approach. To control physical activity and obtain information about the current state of the body, a person needs to know how to use a fitness bracelet so that its operation gives the most positive result.
The functionality of Activity Trackers
Fitness bracelets are equipped with many typical functions and options that are in demand by users.
- Pedometer. Trackers from different manufacturers have different step counting algorithms. Some may account for hand waving or shaking when cycling. Therefore, the user needs to test the device in different modes to correct the possible error.
- Sleep control and smart alarm. Control is carried out in the form of determining the phase of sleep: deep or light. The user, having set the alarm for a while, will be woken up in the phase of light sleep closest to the moment of the signal. Practice shows that by waking up at such a moment, a person gets up most easily and maintains good health and mood. The device also displays information about the number of awakenings for the specified period (night, sleepy hour, etc.), the time of rest, and falling asleep.
- Heart rate monitor.
- Acceptance of notifications. When you receive frequent notifications, the battery drains faster.
Additional functions of fitness devices:
- diagnostics of the diet;
- calculation of the calorie content of individual products, dishes;
- calculating the calorie content of daily and weekly norms;
- monitoring the water-salt balance in the body;
- control over the acceptance of medicines;
- display of the current time (hours);
- reminder (vibration) of scheduled events;
- glider (setting personal goals and advice on how to achieve them), etc.
Synchronization with a smartphone
The companion bracelet can function offline, but with a limited set of functions. For full operation, it must be synchronized with the phone. To do this, the latter must have a working Bluetooth of at least 4.0, for iOS users – version 9.0.
The procedure for synchronizing the Mi Band 4 tracker and the phone when you turn it on for the first time:
- Turn on Bluetooth on your smartphone.
- In the Mi Fit program (if it is not there, download it from the Internet), go to the “Status” section, and in the “Add device” window select “Bracelet” from the list provided.
- Place the tracker and smartphone close to each other.
- As soon as the bracelet emits a vibration, press once on the touch screen. By this action, the user completes the binding.
Most manufacturers of “smart” bracelets install software that allows you to synchronize them with Android devices and iPhones in a similar way.
When scanning a QR code, the system redirects the user to Google Play to download the desired application.
This feature is provided by the touch screen: by swiping up or down, you can switch between programs and options. In some models, there is a button at the bottom of the screen that is responsible for returning to the previous page. You can unlock the screen by scrolling (swiping) the picture.
Using a foot pod and heart rate monitor
In modern models, heart rate measurement is carried out by a built-in infrared emitter, and artificial intelligence helps in processing the received data. If a person has some problems with the cardiovascular system, then monitoring the pulse rate is important for him not only when playing sports, but also at any time of the day.
How to customize the bracelet
The device is configured after:
- fully charged;
- first, turn on;
- synchronization with the phone.
- On the tracker, go to the “Notifications” section and indicate the activation of the vibration signal.
- In the “Settings” section, enter the current time and date.
- In the “Profile” section, set up a physical activity goal. For example, set the number of steps that need to be taken in a given time.
- In the “Statistics” section, which displays information, analyze the user’s activity for a particular time.
By analogy, the correct setting of the entire functionality of the “smart” bracelet is performed: after activating each option, you must agree to use it or reject the offer.
During active operation, the total memory of the device fills up in a short time, therefore, it is necessary to periodically clear it using the method of resetting all data to the installation (factory) settings.
There are two options:
- resetting the settings by discharging the battery. To do this, turn off the device and let it lie down for a while.
- use of special applications and utilities, the launch of which allows you to return the device memory to factory settings.
The best fitness bracelets
The information is recommendatory since ratings in online reviews and other media are based on customer and user reviews.
List of the best models of fitness bracelets:
- Honor Band 3;
- Huawei Band 3 Pro;
- Samsung Gear Fit 2 Pro;
- Honor Band 4;
- Fitbit Charge HR 2;
- Xiaomi Mi Band 3, etc.
For the device to work correctly, you will need to configure the tracker itself. You must enter your details: nickname, height, weight, gender, date of birth, and purpose. You can also customize the bracelet to be worn on both the right hand and the left.
What to consider in the process of use?
The memory of the bracelet does not have a large volume (up to 12 days), so you need to regularly upload the accumulated data to your smartphone. For this reason, it is not recommended to turn off Bluetooth.
The device is not designed for long-term immersion in water, but you can wash your hands or take a shower without removing the bracelet.
Manufacturers do not disclose the calculation algorithms embedded in the trackers, preferring to keep it secret.
But one thing is clear – the more data collected, the more complete personal data in the application is filed, the more accurate the calculation will be.
To calculate the number of calories burned, the tracker needs to process data on heart rate, the number of steps taken, pace, total activity over some time, etc.
What’s wrong with fitness trackers
One of the main complaints about activity trackers available to the average user concerns how accurate their measurements are. The bracelets do a good job with counting steps, but difficulties arise with more complex functions, including a heart rate monitor.
Sometimes the low accuracy of measurements is a consequence of the very design of the fitness bracelet. For example, the light signal that allows you to register your pulse is very weak: the interference arising from movement is much stronger and often drowns it out. To get more accurate results, app algorithms may simply ignore data recorded during active workouts.
Tracker manufacturers often position them as a tool that can help change lifestyle and achieve certain goals – for example, lose weight. Alas, research shows that this tool does not always work.
Benefits of a pedometer or apps with one function
Using a foot pod helps you keep track of the number of steps you have taken during aerobics, jogging, walking, or exercise where step count is important. When you start any fitness activity, you usually set some goals, and you probably would like to follow the progress towards them.
If you use a pedometer during your activity, you will receive new data such as the duration of the activity, the number of steps taken, and the distance traveled.
So you can evaluate your results after days or weeks, allowing you to assess progress.
Why do we need constant monitoring of activity?
The first wearable trackers were created for professional athletes – they tracked heart rate and other indicators to better calculate the load. Today the situation has changed: many of those who wear trackers are far from athletes.
More often such accessories are bought by people with a mostly sedentary lifestyle. Their goal is to find out how much time they spend still and take their first steps towards sports.
How activity trackers can affect the psyche
Constant monitoring can reinforce the intrusive behavior.
Ready-made workout programs that are available in many tracker applications and carry an increasing load, do not bring any benefit if the user does not cope with them.
There is an easy way to recognize the unhealthy effects of trackers. It is a keen sense of shame or guilt that occurs when the goals set by the program have not been achieved.
What devices are there, and how they differ
Fitness bracelets are divided into 2 groups:
- Trackers are gadgets with a limited number of options, for example, measuring heart rate, steps, sleep tracking. They are presented in the form of thin straps, watches, clips.
- Smart bracelets are multifunctional gadgets. The list of basic options is supplemented by call indication, SMS, notifications, GPS. Most models have a screen.
Smartwatches combine the functions of a watch, a fitness bracelet, it is, in fact, a small computer. If the device is used in tandem with a smartphone, then it shows calls, SMS, is used for voice control, launches applications on a mobile device, etc. Also, “smart” watches can be used independently, with their help you can make calls, send SMS, take pictures, play audio files, etc.
Fitness bracelets for women: how to choose?
For women, the appearance of the purchased device is very important. It should be not only comfortable and of high quality, but also fashionable.
- The Xiaomi Mi Band 3 is beautifully styled and compact. The set includes interchangeable straps.
- Moov Now is great for joggers or swimmers. Not only does it have a minimalist style, but it can also be attached to the ankle if the occasion requires it.
- Fitbit Alta functionality is suitable for those who are just starting to learn the world of physical activity. This is not only a stylish tracker but also a device that can last for a long time.
- Bellabeat Leaf is an incredibly minimalist and stylish leaf-shaped tracker. It looks like an ordinary accessory, so no one will understand that this is a fitness bracelet until you tell it yourself.
- Socialite is a great piece of jewelry style. This bracelet has a standard set of functions – pedometer, calorie counter, sleep monitoring, etc.
Trackers for men: what to choose for the stronger sex?
When choosing, young people need to take into account the purpose for which the purchase is made.
Fitbit Charge 2
This is a godsend for those who prefer active rest or love to travel. This fitness bracelet has everything that tourists need so much, namely:
- Measurement of height and distance;
- Choice of different running modes;
- Calorie counter;
- Sleep monitoring;
- Heart rate monitor;
- Alarm clock.
The battery lasts up to 5 days without recharging. As for the design, then without a doubt, we can say that this model will suit any man. Fitbit Charge 2 will look great with both business attire and tracksuit.
Suitable for those who are just starting to run and those who have already achieved certain results in this sport. In addition to basic functions, this device can also assess stress levels and measure oxygen consumption. The battery can work offline for up to 7 days. But the design will not suit everyone – if in the previous case it was classic and monochrome, then different colors are added on the display, which will not please everyone.
Best for those who love to swim. Its functionality includes a parameter necessary for swimmers – blood pressure measurement. The design is universal for all types of clothing. However, there is also a small drawback – the battery life of the Wearfit F1 is only 3 days.