Fitness Tech, Apps vs Wearables


This follows on from our series of posts about fitness tech (, today we are looking at wearable technology.

In previous posts we have discussed how a modern smartphone uses its sensors to monitor daily activity and can show you the results through apps such as Google Fit and Apple Health. Both of these give a breakdown of your activities and can give you a count of the number of steps you have walked in a day.

So what can wearable technology tell us that just using our phones cannot?

The answer is surprisingly quite a lot. Wearable tech has advanced greatly over the last few years, modern devices don’t just count your steps, but monitor your heart rate and your sleep patterns.

Using this information can help us plan our exercise better, the heart rate monitors will tell us how hard each workout is, for instance how much time during a run is spent in a cardio workout rate. The other thing it can show us is our resting heart rate, so how fast the heart beats during sleep. This is a great indicator of your heart fitness, the lower your resting heart rate is the better. As your fitness improves your resting heart rate should lower. As your body recovers from a vigorous workout your resting heart rate may be higher than it normally is, so if your resting rate is 5 beats per minute higher than it usually is take a day off, or do less exercise until it returns to normal.

Sleep tracking is also an interesting feature, some modern trackers can tell the difference between the type of sleep you are in, so it can tell the difference between light and deep sleep. This information can be useful, as our bodies tend to sleep in cycles lasting between 90 and 110 minutes. We start in a light sleep, then cycle through deep sleep and back to a light sleep.Keeping an eye on your pattern can help you set an alarm to go off at a time when you are only in a light sleep, rather than in deep sleep. This will help you wake up easier and feel more rested.

The other advantage of wearables is that they can display information from your phone on your wrist, so instead of getting your phone out of your pocket every time in beeps or vibrates you can simply look at your wrist.

For me the biggest advantage of wearable tech is the encouragement it gives you. A simple look at my watch will let me know how far I’ve walked or run and this often gives me the motivation to go further or faster.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *