There are plenty of tools out there to help improve your fitness levels. Some are designed more for men, but there are others that are perfect for women to increase their stamina, strength, muscle tone, and more.
But which one should you opt for? After all, there are just so many apps, wearables and more that are designed to boost your fitness levels. Is there a specific app and wearable for women that work out better than others?
One app or wearable isn’t going to suit everyone. It depends on what you want to gain from your trackers and tools. It’s important to look into all your options. Here’s a complete review of your options to help you choose the right ones for you.
What Do Apps and Wearables Track?
Almost all apps and wearables will track the basics: calories burned, steps walked, exercise done. There are others that go a step further. Some will track your heart rate, your stress levels, and even the amount of food you’ve eaten. There are others that will track your sleep, helping you to improve your overall lifestyle.
There are apps that you mustinput the data manually. The aim is to use the tools to help with weight loss and a healthier lifestyle. Others will track it all automatically, based on your movement, any activities you do, and you’re presumed calorie burn naturally.
Each app and wearable certainly have its limitations. Some require computer input initially to sync both app and wearable. Others will only track properly when you have your phone and wearable together. Then there are those that just don’t track everything that you could want or need.
When counting steps, the trackers can be slightly out. Some will over-count and others under-count. It’s all based on the sensitivity of the trackers and wearables, along with the exact movement that you do. If you want exact step counts, you’ll need the Misfit Shine. This is the only one in tests that counted 100 steps when exactly 100 steps were done. Others were either slightly under or slightly over. Some would only be one or two steps out, which at first isn’t big but if you’re doing 10,000 steps a day, it can cause major issues for counting calories burned.
The aesthetics of the devices will also be a factor. Some look clearly like fitness trackers, while others are designed to work with any clothing you wear. You can get some that clip on your clothing and are easy to hide, while others will look like watches, bracelets, and necklaces. This may affect your choice.
Tracking Your Steps and Exercise
If you just want a device that tracks your steps and exercise amounts, then you can get away with most apps and wearables on the market. The Samsung Health app is a free option available for all Samsung phones. You just must carry it in your pocket, hand, or even bag and the device will track the number of steps you do. Most other smartphones now have their versions.
When it comes to wearables, the Jawbone, Garmin, Fitbit, Misfit, and Apple Watch will also work just as well. While some are very slightly out regarding sensitivity, they will still track the amount of exercise that you do automatically. There are apps that you download on your smartphone to easily check your progress, syncing them with the wearables.
There are some issues with the Withings Acritivite POP. While it receives good reviews on Amazon, some people have had issues syncing their device to their phone. It also turns out that the phone app is the part that does most of the tracking, which is a little useless if you want to go on a run without your phone or if it’s lost charge while you’re out. What’s the full point of the wearable?
Logging Your Distance Run
MyFitnessPal is an app worth downloading on your phone. It uses your phone’s GPS to log the distance that you’ve traveled while out. You can log your runs, bike rides, and even the amount that you’ve walked or run. It’s not just about the distance, but you can also look at your exact route. This can help you stick to a specific route, increase your speed and stamina, and improve your abilities when training for a race.
While other trackers will track the distance that you’ve run, not all can connect through GPS. You’ll need your phone for this and will have to set up app specifics to make sure you do this.
The Fitbit, Garmin, and others will track the distance you’ve traveled in miles. This will show you just how far you’ve walked and the steps you’ve climbed. However, you won’t be able to track where you’ve been or see the route specifically for your run. They track the overall distance while wearing the devices.
It’s not possible to zero your distances on any app or device you have. This can cause limitation when you’re training for a race, which is why MyFitnessPal is preferable.
The Moto 360 Sport is looking to change this. It will have in-built GPS technology and is going to be designed for runners and trainers. This is something to look out for if this is what you want from your device.
Tracking Your Sleep Both Manually and Automatically
Some wearables will track the amount that you sleep. You can also manually track your sleep through your phone apps.
Let’s start with the Samsung Health app. This will pull up an assumption of when you fell asleep and woke, based on when you used your phone. It isn’t always accurate, but it’s a good assumption from a device that isn’t completely connected to your body. Other apps on phones do something similar. You just have to know when you fell asleep and woke, which isn’t always possible.
There are limitations with the apps on smartphones. You can’t input broken sleep. Say you woke up at 2am and then couldn’t get back to sleep until 5am, there isn’t a way to track this. It throws off the times you slept and woke and your average time slept.
When you use wearables to track your sleep, the tracking is mostly automatic. Devices like the Fitbit One and Fitbit Flex will require you to tap a button to put them in sleep mode (which is annoying when it comes to remembering), but they will track your sleep automatically for you. The devices will also track wakefulness or restfulness throughout the night, tracking the quality of sleep that you had.
There are limitations to the restfulness. The tracking is based on movement. You may have woken up for a few hours but decided not to move your arm at all while you try to fall back asleep. The device doesn’t know you’ve done this and assumes that you’ve fallen back asleep.
The Misfit and Jawbone track sleep without putting the devices in sleep mode. This certainly has some benefits, but there are still the same limitations mentioned above.
It’s difficult to determine whether they’re accurate in tracking sleep. After all, you don’t know the exact time you’ve fallen sleep!
You should be able to see the amount of time asleep through the apps on your phone. You’ll need to make sure your devices are synced to their relevant apps for this!
Tracking Your Heart Rate Throughout the Day
Wearables can track your heart rate. Not all offer this yet, but there are a few that do. Most FitBits (except the One and Flex), Apple Watch, and the Moto 360 all have heart rate trackers on their devices. They will also do this automatically, without the need for a push of a button.
The Moto 360 isn’t accurate at all. There are also complaints about some of the FitBits inaccuracies over the heart rates. However, the Charge HR is one of the most effective and accurate. It will get your heart rate perfect every single time. The Apple Watch is slightly out, but not too much to cause panic so that it would be the second alternative.
The Jawbone also tracks your heart rate. It will do this continually throughout the day and include the results of the phone app. You can’t get the data on demand, but you can check at the end or start of the day. It’s a good way to see your overall heart rate and look at periods of increases and decreases.
You can also manually check your heart rate through apps. You’ll need to use the sensor function on your phone to place your finger and allow the app to track. For the best results, you’ll need to do this at the same time on a daily or weekly basis. It’s something that must become a habit because the phone apps cannot do anything manually.
Keeping track of Your Food and Calorie Intake/Burning
Tracking calories are something that a lot of people want. Most phone apps will allow you to track your food intake. The Samsung Health, MyFitnessPal, and Lifelong all have food databases. You go through the database to find the food that you’ve eaten, and it will track the calories eaten and the percentage of macronutrients within the food. You’ll also be able to track your water intake, caffeine intake, and other additions throughout the day.
This is all manual, but there’s no way to track food automatically with any device. Most wearable devices don’t offer a food tracking option yet. This is slowly changing, especially with smartwatches.
All tracker apps and wearables will track the calories that you burn. Most will track your calories throughout the day, based on the steps you take, the speed you walk, and another exercise it picks up. With most phone apps you can also specifically track types of exercise. While tracking the calories burned, it will also show you how active you’ve been and new goals to reach.
The wearables can pick up specific types of activities automatically. There’s no need to click a button to say that you’re doing exercise rather than just walking. You can then check the progress through the device screens (you’ll usually see the number of calories burned) and through the synced apps.
Tracking on a Budget
If you want to stick to a tight budget, a free smartphone app download is going to be your cheapest option. The downside if you’re doing the majority of your tracking manually. It’s not effective if you want to set and forget for the day!
The Pivotal Living band is a good low-budget wearable device to buy. There are app renewal fees, but for a short period the band and apps will work out far cheaper than any other wearable on the market. You’re going only to get the step counting, so it’s not the best option when you want other elements of tracking.
When it comes to accuracy, the Fitbit Charge HR is the best wearable on the market. It tracks almost everything automatically, only needing minimal input when you want to trackcertain activities or when you want to check your progress. Yes, there is some charging required, but you can use the device for a week or so without needing to put it in charge. The device and the Fitbit app will alert you when you need to recharge.
There are cheaper options for the Fitbit. They’re not as advanced, but they are still accurate and worth the money. It depends on the exact budget. Most are under $200, with the majority of them around or just over the $100 mark.
If you’re looking for something that does more than just track your exercise, you’ll want to look into the purchase of a smartwatch. The Apple Watch is the most advanced so far. You can check your emails, manage alerts on your phone, and so much more. The app will even alert you to make sure you stand for a minute every hour to increase blood flow and look after your health.
The Moto 360 isn’t quite there yet for tracking. It does blend well with your clothing and looks like an actual watch, but there are still some advancements needed. It could be the best option when the Sports version comes out.
Which Is the Best Tracker App and Wearable for Women?
I wish I could say that there is one in particular that you should buy. If you are on a tight budget, Lifelog for Android, Samsung Health app, and the Health app for iOS are certainly your best options. They’re free (or have minimal costs involved) to put on your phone and will track your steps and calories burned automatically. They also track far more than your activities. You’ll be able to track food intake, exact exercises done, sleep, and your overall health changes.
MyFitnessPal is an app worth investing in. It will track your food and uses your phone’s GPS to track your distance and where you run. This is something that all those training for races and marathons should currently download until the Moto 360 Sport is released and tested.
When you want something automatic for steps, sleep, calories, and more, the Fitbit Charge HR is certainly the most accurate. It’s one of the cheaper options on the market and can look like a normal watch. The downside is you can find it difficult to match some clothing. The Fitbit Flex, Fitbit Alta, and Fitbit One are better options. They’re not as advanced as the Charge HR though.
Smartwatches are growing in popularity. The Moto 360 Sport will be the best when it is released, as long as it’s accurate. The Android app will connect to both Android and iOS devices, meaning it doesn’t matter which phone you have! The problem with the Apple Watch is that it only connects to Apple devices.
Unfortunately, it is a case of what do you want to get out of your fitness tracker app and wearable? I recommend:
- Your phone’s free health app
- Fitbit Charge HR
- A smartwatch (although best to wait for the Moto 360 Sport)
However, anything that encourages you to move more and helps you stick to a balanced diet is going to be good for you. Stick to your budget. There is something out there for you.