BY KIMBERLY BLAKER
JUST WEAR IT…Wearable Technology
Fitness and health are vital components to a balanced lifestyle. Ask most people, especially after the new year, and they likely have some sort of health or fitness-related goal. Wearable technology makes it easier than ever to keep on top of your goals. It encourages healthy habits by tracking and analyzing various stats and their impact on your health. Many options are available on the market for wearable technology. Most come in a watch-based design, but there are alternatives as well.
Many of these tech companies even offer a variety of options, making it easy to find the best wearable fitness for your particular wants, needs, and budget. Most trackers have the same basic features but with various advanced features. So before you buy, consider what you want from your wearable technology as well as what types of devices you already have that are compatible. The following are among some of the top options to consider.
Fitbit Charge 4
The Fitbit Charge 4 is a balance between a smartwatch and a more basic tracker. It does not have the larger face of a smartwatch and only has basic apps included. But it can track many things like your 24/7 heart rate and sleep to give you a more in-depth health profile on the app. It comes with a built-in GPS, so you do not need your phone to record outdoor workouts. It also includes Spotify Control if you have a Spotify premium membership, and offers the option to pay from your watch.
Battery: up to 7 days per charge
Fitbit Versa 2
Fitbit Versa 2 has the same features as the Charge 4 but is a smartwatch with a larger touch screen face and hundreds of available apps you can download. If you have an Amazon Alexa, you can use the Versa 2 to connect directly to it.
Battery: 6+ days per charge
Fitbit Inspire is the most basic, cost-effective model the company offers. It is a smaller size with fewer features but still has a digital clock face with stats, reminders, and pace and distance in real-time. You can also receive notifications from your smartphone. To track heart rate and related stats like sleep or cardio fitness scores, you will need the Inspire HR. The regular Inspire includes steps taken, distance, calories burned, hourly activity, and stationary time.
Battery: up to 5 days per charge
Garmin vivofit 4
The Garmin vivofit 4 is Garmin’s basic fitness watch. It tracks steps, distance, calories burned, and has Move IQ to track and classify activity on Garmin Connect, the included app it syncs to. You can also use it for alarms, reminders, the weather, and as a timer.
Battery: 1+ year
Garmin vivosmart 4
The Garmin vivosmart 4 is the next step up from the vivofit, adding the ability to track heart rate and blood oxygen saturation to gather even more data. It has advanced sleep tracking, stress-monitoring, and Body Battery energy monitoring to keep you aware of activity or rest needs. This wearable has some smartwatch features like vibrating notifications, activity trackers, and the ability to connect to your smartphone’s GPS to record outdoor activity.
Battery: up to 7 days per charge
Garmin vivoactive 4
The Garmin vivoactive 4 is one of Garmin’s smartwatch models with a larger, round face and touch screen with available apps. Some of the additional features are music on your phone, preloaded sports apps, workout animations viewable on the watch screen, and location sharing for safety and tracking.
Battery: up to 7 days
Samsung Galaxy Watch Active2
The Samsung Galaxy Watch Active2 is another smartwatch version of wearable technology with a large, round face. It tracks activity and workouts, heart rate, sleep, and stress levels. You can also use apps on the watch to stream music or YouTube, answer calls or texts, get notifications, meditate, and more.
The Active 2 also offers either a golf or Under Armour edition with special features. The golf edition includes satellite maps of 40,000+ courses and real-time data and coaching for your game. The Under Armour edition focuses on running with form coaching.
Battery: up to 3-4 days
Samsung Galaxy Fit
Samsung Galaxy Fit is the more basic wearable tracker from Samsung. It has a smaller touch screen that can show notifications from your phone, basic information, and workout data. This device tracks heart rate, sleep, activity, calories, caffeine and water intake, and workouts.
Battery: up to 1 week
Withings Move Watch
Withings Move Watch is an activity tracker with a traditional analog face and no touch screen. It has a third dial on its face to track activity. Information is then synced to the free Health Mate app for tracking and analysis. It has an internal GPS and automatically tracks activity, or you can start a manual workout by pressing the side button. It also tracks sleep, sleep stages, and has alarms and Smart Wake-up included.
Battery: up to 12 months
Cost: starting at $129.95*
Xiaomi Mi Smart Band 4
Xiaomi Mi Smart Band 4 is a smaller watch device with a basic touchscreen to view data, calls, texts, and notifications. It tracks heart rate, sleep, activity, and workout data. It also syncs data with the Mi Fit app to record and analyze information gathered.
Battery: up to 20 days
Cost: on Amazon for $29.99*
Apple Watch Series 5
Apple Watch Series 5 is more of a smartwatch with fitness features and capabilities. It is compatible with thousands of apps, including many fitness-related ones. It tracks heart rate, activity, sleep, and fitness activities. The Apple Watch has motivating factors like three colored activity rings you work to close based on personal goals. Other unique health-related features include an ECG app to check your heart’s rhythm and noise warnings to protect your hearing. For those with diabetes, it can check glucose levels from your monitor. It also has fall detection that can automatically notify emergency services or emergency contacts. It has a shorter battery life than other wearable technology, so it can’t be used for 24/7 monitoring.
Battery: up to 18 hours per charge
Cost: starting at $399*
WHOOP is a fitness tracker band without any watch face or screen that does 24/7 monitoring. The strap itself is the tracker that gathers data for the WHOOP app. The app analyzes and breaks down the data into detailed reports for the categories of sleep, recovery, and strain. This wearable technology includes feedback for all parts of your life, not just fitness, and shows how everything affects your health in different ways.
Battery: 5 days (a charged battery pack fits on the strap while worn for uninterrupted monitoring)
Cost: $30 per month* (the basic wrist band is included in the subscription)
Oura Ring is an excellent option if you want something more subtle. This ring uses sensors to track heart rate, movement, and temperature to record activity, workouts, sleep, and more. The data is synced to an app that provides analysis, insights, and interpretation of what the numbers mean for your personal health and habits.
Battery: up to 7 days, wireless charger completes in 1 hour
Hexoskin is a smart garment company that offers machine washable smart shirts that track cardiac (including ECG), respiratory, sleep, and activity data, which syncs to your device. Astronauts on the ISS used the Astroskin Bio-Monitor system and published reports found on the Hexoskin website.
Battery: 12-30+ hours
Cost: ranges from $169 for the shirt
(without necessary device included) to $579 for the pro kit.*
*All prices are based on the time of writing.