Choosing and Using Fitness Tools and Gadgets

Polar HRM reading ave hr

Choosing the right fitness tools for you

Wearable fitness tech is hot right now. And at the beginning of the year, many people wanting to work on their fitness may well start by investing in one of these fitness gadgets. Like many dedicated fitness fanatics, I love such fitness tools and gadgets and have a hard time not wanting to drool over the latest cool-looking/sounding/functioning device. However, the usefulness of such fitness gadgets to your fitness goals really does depend on the sort of person you are.  Below I list three common examples of functionality within fitness tech and how best I think they should be used. (Nb some fitness gadgets combine all three – and more – functions).

The heart rate monitor (HRM)

This is my favourite fitness gadget because for the most part they are pretty accurate and not too expensive. They measure the heart rate in beats-per-minute and record your average heart rate over the workout time. I best use my HRM in two ways: to monitor how my heart is performing as I exercise, and then at the end of the workout, a brief, congratulatory look at the summary screen for the whole workout (see pic above).

The interval timer

This inexpensive piece of hardware can either be a wristwatch, round-the-neck stopwatch, or clip-on timer. Once pre-programmed before the workout, they function as a reminder to the exerciser to either stop or start work again. There is a ‘whip-crack’ element to these devices as they can encourage you to move on to the next part of your workout before you would shave chosen to do so yourself. These timers work best for exercisers who lose focus during their workout. Perhaps they rest too long between exercises, or don’t keep up with a run long enough to see benefits.

The movement tracker

The most popular fitness tech at the moment, these gadgets will keep track of overall movement, not just exercise. Often they contain a downloadable report which may appeal to the more analytical person or someone who needs a motivational goal/reward. For many this comes in the form of the number of calories burned which can be a strong motivational factor to continue exercising. It’s debatable how accurate this figure may be from device to device. But so long as the calorie counting remains consistent, at least you have data to work on.

Technology does have a useful place in Muddy Plimsolls’ training. They can provide hard data for a personal trainer or exerciser to work with and make the best of every workout.

(Nb this is an update of a post originally from 2010)