New Craze: Fitness Watches

Article by: Kayla U.

Photograph by: Rendel B.

How fit are you? This question is usually quite subjective, and would probably leave someone wondering how fitness can be measured, when physical activity and our ability to engage in it is so broad and complex. Recently, a variety of watch companies have made answering this question a whole lot easier by designing watches that provide users with an abundance of fitness-related information.

There are a plethora of fitness watches on the market including brands like Soleus, Polar, TomTom, Samsung, and more. Ranging from $99 USD to $450 USD, these watches come in all shapes, sizes, and colors. They also differ greatly in functions and features, offering options from the most basic set of daily fitness data such as steps taken and miles run, to more technical data such as heart rate, elevation levels, and sleep cycles.

Sophomore Tiffany L. uses the Garmin Vivofit everyday to track her steps, number of calories burned, and sleep patterns. The sleep tracker tells users the total hours slept, along with time spent awake or restless during the night. Some watches also encourage users to set nightly sleep goals. The sleep tracker could therefore definitely be a useful tool for ISM students in general, but particularly those busy in the IB program who may need a little prompting to get in their eight hours.

The Garmin 920XT is a more specialized watch for those athletes who wish to keep track of their speed, cadence, heart rate, and calories burned. Of particular help to athletes who participate in endurance sports, this watch provides a VO2 max output reading, which shows an athlete’s aerobic endurance capacity, helping them determine how hard they can work throughout prolonged exercise sessions. Coach Respecki, PE teacher and superstar triathlete, told BT, “One con about this [Garmin 920XT] watch is that it requires a heart rate monitor to be paired with it in order to provide the user with accurate information, which is why I only use it when doing serious workouts.”

Fitbit is one of the cheapest, sleekest, and most fashionable models. Fitbit provides slightly less information than the more expensive brands, though it still includes enough valuable data for the everyday person including a pedometer, a glowing digital clock, calories burned, and the ability to receive texts and calls. Sophomore, Mu B, is a proud user of the Fitbit, and stated that, “It straps onto your wrist and you don’t even know it’s there, which I think is pretty appealing.” Mr. Dodd, PE teacher and coach, agreed in saying, “I like it because it tells the time, my heart rate and tracks everything I do, all in one device!”

Fit watches can help everyone reach new fitness levels through awareness of activity, helpful goal-setting features, and daily reminders, regardless of the user’s experience. They are an example of modern technology aiding the progress of human fitness.