When fitness bands first came out, they did a great job tracking your steps like a pedometer. If you wanted to track your heart rate, however, you had to wear a cumbersome chest strap. (Hint: not comfortable or sexy). Nowadays, many of the best fitness trackers with a heart rate monitor achieve the same feat by using optical technology to monitor the blood rushing through your veins. This information can then be used to estimate how much blood is pumping through your ticker.
Tons of the best fitness trackers now feature these optical sensors, meaning that if you want to know how fast your heart is beating, you no longer have to wrap an elastic band around your torso and spend your whole workout tugging at it so it doesn't ride up.
But how accurate are fitness trackers with optical heart rate monitors? The jury is divided here; However, most fitness experts agree that while the chest straps are more accurate at high-intensity levels (aka when you’re dripping sweat on the final lap of your half marathon), everyday wrist trackers work just fine the rest of the time.
With optical heart rate monitors being so much more comfortable and user-friendly, it often makes the small sacrifice in accuracy worth it. Optical wrist styles appear in virtually every kind of fitness tracker, from basic budget bands to fancy high-end watches. Whatever type of activity recorder you're after, there's a great option for you, below.
1. A Stylish Sports Watch That You Can Use To Take Remote Control Selfies
SKMEI, Women's Smart Watch
On top of tracking your steps and monitoring your heart rate, this awesome sports watch helps you step up your selfie game with a remote camera control: You can even use it to take long-range photos from across the room with a simple click of the band. During your workouts, the stylish fitness tracker, which comes in purple, blue, and black, records distance, calories burned, heart rate, and other metrics — all without having your device with you. That means you can go for a run or hit the gym without lugging your phone along or strapping it to your arm. The super-fast Bluetooth sync also delivers alerts when you have texts, incoming calls, or other notifications. The only drawback to this feature is that it doesn't show you who's calling — you get a notification and then have to look at your phone to check, instead. However, it does track sleep, so you can use the device to improve your quality of Zs, too.
2. A Waterproof Fitness Tracker That You Can Swim Laps In
Garmin, Forerunner 15
If you're a swimmer or just someone who like to spend time in the water, this waterproof fitness tracker is a fantastic choice. With a water rating of 5 ATM, the tracker can be submerged up to 50 meters, meaning it's perfectly safe for doing laps at the pool or splashing around in at the lake. You can even wear it when you shower. Even cooler, the device's remarkable battery life lasts a staggering five weeks in activity tracking mode (this drops to 8 hours if you use the GPS function to map your runs live). It has a motivational alert system that will shoot you reminders to get up and move when you’ve been sitting down too long, as well as an auto lap functionality for running that alerts you each time you complete a mile, flashing your time on the screen. The cool tracker comes in five color combinations including teal-white, violet-white, red-black, black-blue, and black-green.
3. An Affordable Fitness Band That Uses A Triaxial Gravity Sensor For Reliability
myFit, Momentum Fitness Tracker
Just because you want to track your workouts doesn't mean you're willing to go into bankruptcy to do it. However, you also may be sick of cheap bands that stop working after a week. This affordable fitness tracker is the best of both worlds, offering a budget device that still works consistently and reliably. The fitness band uses a Triaxial Gravity Sensor to obtain the most accurate data measurements, ensuring that it won't give you false data or record mysterious steps while you're lying in bed. It uses HeartSense technology to monitor heart rate and also features a pedometer, sleep tracker, distance recorder, calorie counter, alarm clock, call notifications, and out-of-range alerts. All in all, it's a fabulous choice at a great price.
4. A Splurge-Worthy Waterproof Sports Watch That Functions As 24-Hour Personal Trainer
Polar, M430 GPS Running Watch
When you're working hard to lose weight or hit an exercise goal, sometimes you need to treat yourself. This top-of-the-line, ultra-accurate fitness watch is like the Cadillac of sports trackers. More than simply tracking your metrics, the M430 acts as a virtual personal trainer, analyzing your fitness levels and creating plans specifically catered to you. When you first sync it up, for example, the watch gives you a 5-minute orthostatic test to determine your current condition and optimize your training accordingly. The high-speed companion app then helps you design a workout plan, providing motivational alerts and advice along the way, including post-workout overviews and recovery time breakdowns. Even the device's calorie counter factors in your weight, height, age, gender, and individual maximum heart rate (HRmax) when calculating your numbers. On top of all that, the high-tech watch is 100 percent waterproof, capable of being fully submerged and still tracking your goals.
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