Track your path to better health
Thinking of treating yourself or a loved one to a fitness tracker birthday? The team put six of the best to the test…
We may have just found the perfect Christmas gift.
Not just today fascinateS-trackers look like a stylish new watch, but they’re also scientifically proven to get us moving more.
In fact, those who strap a tracker to their wrist can take up to 1,800 more steps and 40 minutes more walking per day than those who don’t, according to scientists at Southern University. Australia.
But with so many to choose from, where do we begin?
We put some of our latest models through their paces just in time for Christmas…
Best for fitness
Apple Watch series 8, starting at £419
head to health Lizzie Barry says: “I’ve always resisted the need for more technology in my life — never criminally retracing my steps.
“I walk to work and aim to hit the gym four or five times a week, which is the class of exercise I cover.
So, when I tried apple Watch, I wasn’t expecting it to make such a big difference – but I was wrong.
It does it all: monitors your heart rate, counts steps, and helps you set—and stick to—daily Playing sports Movement goals and burned calories calculation.
You can even do an EKG to check your heart’s rhythm.
“The daily stats help personalize my workouts and push me to work out harder. They also remind me to get up every hour – really useful if, like me, you sit at a desk all day.
And as a big fan of breathing to help relieve stress, the breathing guide is a good way to relax before bed.
It’s also easy to sync with your iPhone and start tracking automatically. However, it can become addictive.
“I’ve found myself panicking when I don’t achieve my goals. So, like most things in life, moderation is key.
“Don’t become her slave and she will give you the kick ass, we all need to move a little bit more, feel better about her.”
Best for stress
Garmin Venu 2 Plus, £399.99
Ella Walker, health features editor, says: Garmin High-tech and stylish, and I found the sleep function really pleasant.
It breaks down Zzzs into deep, lighter REM, and even reflects anxiety caused by bad dreams on the companion app’s sleep chart.
“It’s also very comprehensive StressHe tells me to “calm down” and “take a breath” as my heart rate picks up.
“The watch isn’t always intuitive. I forgot to tell it I was done with yoga, so it logs 13 hours of stretching, and fails to log, I quit incline doggie.”
“The calorie tracker is confusing — you don’t enter diet data, so it just seems like guesswork.
It also doesn’t account for gardening or housework, but both make me sweat! And the motion alerts are frustrating, ringing every day at 10 a.m. telling me to get up and walk around or do some exercise, even if I bike to work, but it’s a great reminder to break the screen.
“Best of all, it greets you with loud, fun graphics when you reach a fitness goal, which encourages me to take the stairs and hit more stairs.”
Best for sleeping
Oura ring, £227 with access to the app for six months, then £5.30 a month
Health writer Ellie Cambridge says: “I thought seven hours of kip and a reasonable amount of sleep hit the nail in the head.
“But there is more SleepsAccording to Aura.
Hefty yet light (which comforts you when worn 24/7), applying the ring each morning gives you a “readiness score” of 100, which reflects how well you slept, the previous day’s activity, and recovery.
“I started craving my daily dose, hoping it would promise a body full of energy. It made me skip if he said the opposite of what I expected, but this little device is clever.
“If I had a noisy night or a nap, she could tell, plus she was recording my nap time.” Corona virus disease Impaired heart rate, temperature and respiratory rate.
“Thinking about my daily score also encouraged me to go to bed on time, instead of having another G&T with friends.
“It showed me that sleep and what I do every day are two sides of the same coin. It was a real insight into how I recharge my body.”
Best for gut health
FoodMarble Aire 2, £189
“I’ve had it,” says health and fitness writer Lucy Journal Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) for a decade, so I was excited to give you the world’s most advanced digestive breath tracker.
The little square breath analyzer connects to an easy-to-navigate app, and for two weeks, I tracked foodAnd sleep, stress, and bowel habits (telling an app when you went for number two was interesting!).
Several times a day, I’m also alerted to test my breath. This is where the magic happens.
“Levels of hydrogen and methanol — gases released when bacteria in the large intestine begin to ferment the food you’ve eaten — are assessed.
The problem arises when gas builds up too quickly, leading to cramps, bloating and other digestive problems.
“When I ate anything dairy-based or with sweeteners, my levels went up and I found myself bloated and gassy.
“I also knew when I needed to ‘go’—my breath gas levels were noticeably lower after a trip to the bathroom, but high beforehand.
“It’s expensive, but it seems to work. I’m now more aware of problem foods.”
Best for calorie control
Huawei Watch GT 3, from £159.99
“Multipurpose,” says Terri Ann Williams, senior health correspondent Huawei The GT3 is cool – it’s not too sporty and the digital interface is straightforward.
But the app isn’t easy to use and takes a while to navigate. When it comes to tracking calories and exercise, I can’t go wrong with this one.
It will tell you the calories burned and how long you need to rest before exercising again, which is great for preventing injury.
However, I am skeptical of its accuracy. There are general settings for running, walking and cycling, but not for weights.
“You also have to start an exercise program physically on the watch, because it doesn’t automatically recognize them, which is annoying — you don’t want to be enjoying it when you’re about to get home from work.
For running, it was great. There’s no need to turn on phone data to show you a map of your skill.
Personalized workout plans help you work through everything from a 5k to a marathon. Unfortunately, I didn’t evaluate sleep function.
“It often records me being in bed asleep, which isn’t always the case!”
The best in terms of simplicity
Fitbit Charge 5, £129 with free Premium for six months, then £7.99 per month
“This tracker monitors steps and heart rate, has 20 exercise modes and measures stress using sweat responses,” says health writer Vanessa Chalmers.
It reminds you to stop sitting for so long, but I found the notifications annoying and turned them off (ignorance is bliss).
However, it collects a lot of data and stores it in the app, which is what I found most impressive.
It offers your period and calorie tracking, as well as records of activity, stress and heart rate. There are sleep guides, too—helping you wind down, drift off, and set and achieve sleep goals.
Plus, there are exercise videos you can try, as well as recipes and nutritional advice. The watch can feel heavy.
Scrolling through the different workout modes, I struggled to get back to the home screen.
And the screen is small — deceiving for people with large hands, but it has solid battery life.
“It’s perfect if you want to get healthier, but aren’t a gym bunny.
“For a compact watch, you get what you pay for, and more if you pay for the app.”