Whether you’re running, cycling, walking or simply working out, an activity tracker will measure your progress (and, in some cases, score points with your medical aid programme). It’s a useful gadget, but a big investment – so before you buy one, make sure you do your homework!
Starting a fitness programme is easy. Sticking to it is a little more difficult. A fitness tracker will help you keep track of the exercises you’re doing, set goals, see improvements and keep motivated. Here’s how to pick the right one for you.
First, figure out what you want from your tracker. Do you want to count your steps, measure your heart rate, or track the distance you’ve walked/run? Do you want it to link to your phone to get SMS and email notifications? Fitness trackers range from simple step counters (pedometers) to multi-functional smartwatches, so decide what functions you want before you start shopping.
What sport do you do? If you run and want to track your distance and pace, you’ll need a wristwatch-style fitness tracker with a built-in GPS. If you swim, make sure your tracker is waterproof (not many of them are!). If you need to track your heart rate, you’ll need a wrist device with a built-in heart rate monitor or a watch that links to a chest strap.
The mobile app that your device links to is almost as important as the device itself. Does it allow you to set goals, record workouts, look at weekly/monthly stats, and challenge friends? And, most importantly, does it work with the phone you have? A device that links directly to an app on your phone via Bluetooth is a quick, easy way to get your workout result.
If you’re signed up with a reward programme that requires you to submit your activity data for points/rewards, make sure that the device you’re about to buy is compatible with that programme. Some medical aid plans don’t link to certain fitness tracker devices… And that’s something you don’t want to find out the hard way!
Some phones have activity tracker apps that can be useful, but are limited in their functions. They’re great step counters, but you obviously have to have your phone on you all the time. And while some phone apps can measure your heart rate, a smartphone won’t be able to track your workout and give you stats after a session.
JOIN THE RUN!
Staying fit is easy. Join us in Cape Town on 16 December and run for unity in the RCS Gugulethu Reconciliation Day Race. Enter online at Entrytime.com and join in the fun – all for a good cause.
TRACK YOUR PROGRESS!
Swipe your RCS Card today, and keep track of your fitness goals. Your RCS Card gives you access to the RCS shopping network of over 21 000 retailers, including South Africa’s leading tech and fitness stores.