“1 in 5 people now own a Smartwatch or Fitness wearable” - Forrester research.
2016 is set to be the year of fitness wearables, from Fitbit, Apple, Garmin, Epsom, Jawbone, Nike+, Tomtom, Mio and many more, it seems everyone wants a slice of the action, or should I say your action! If you have a tracker wrapped around your wrist, here are some top tips and tricks on how to get the most out of your device.
1. Wear the watch on your less dominant arm
Whilst a lot of fitness watches have apps where you can enter which hand you're wearing the watch on, there are multiple advantages to wearing your watch on the less dominant hand. The main one being obvious, fitness trackers aren't the cheapest bits of kit, so placing it on your less dominant hand is a safer bet as it is less likely to get bashed and broken. Another reason is your dominant hand moves more and, therefore, can give you unfair data where it thinks you waving your arm around is you taking steps, it may not appreciate your rather eccentric hand gestures. However, if you cannot bear to see your watch on your less dominant wrist, most apps will increase the watches sensitivity to allow for the extra movement, providing you change the user settings before strapping up.
2. Make sure you can connect your wearable via Bluetooth
There is nothing more frustrating than working really hard at a workout, eager to look at what feedback you’ve collected only to discover your data ‘failed to sync’. This particular message really gets to me, my phone has been very close to being hurled across the room on far more occasions than I’d care to admit, but fortunately, there’s a way to help prevent this message. Whilst I am not a Bluetooth tech expert, what I have discovered is that Bluetooth doesn’t like to be connected to multiple devices at once, it needs to concentrate. Disconnect any unused connections in your phone settings and always ensure your device is linked to your phone before you exercise in order to avoid the horrific disappointment of lost workout data. Another Bluetooth tip is to make sure it is switched on in both devices and that you are running the most up to date firmware.
3. Don’t be fooled by inaccurate data readings
Whilst it’s great to be logging your activity and analysing your daily results, it's important not to count your readings to the exact number. Just because your wearable reckons you’ve burnt 2056 calories does not mean you should be eating 2056 calories, no more, no less. Despite the fact new technology is creating wearables with more and more accurate and precise data, there is still room for error, be it from the watch itself or human error. Your wearable feedback will give you a good insight into your days performance and should be used as a guideline. Research by IOWA State University studied multiple brands performances during various activities and found that some wearables calorie counts can be inaccurate by up to 50%.
4. Keep it charged
Never start the day with low battery because you know by the time you make it to the gym, your batteries going to have died. Many wearables will have settings in the app which can optimise your battery usage, such as switching off all day sync or swapping to battery saving mode, but really it's a matter of scheduling an appropriate time to add into your routine for wearable charging. If your watch isn’t waterproof, why not charge your watch whenever you wash. It will help you to remember to take it off before showering and prevent breaking it as well as get you into the routine of charging it regularly (or at least we hope you shower regularly)!
5. Utilise and sync with other apps
Your wearable isn’t going to think you're cheating on it by syncing with other apps. Leading fitness apps such as Myfitnesspal, Strava and Map my Run work with most fitness wearables to give you a more rounded picture of your health and can enhance your tracker’s data to help you reach your full potential.
6. Create an accurate user profile
With most wearables apps, you're asked to set up your user before using the device. Data such as your age, weight, height and gender are entered before you can get started, for this reason many ‘keen beans’ whizz through the set up to get to the fun stuff and end up entering estimates or inaccurate data. If you start with inaccurate data, you’re going to finish with inaccurate results. Make sure you weigh yourself, check your height and then enter your details accordingly. Typo’s will make a major difference here, your device can only be as accurate as you tell it.
8. Add friends
What’s the point in working out if you can’t brag about it? With 2015 being the year of the rise of the gym selfie, in 2016 it’s fashionable to get fit. Most fitness apps will allow you to add friends and share your progress with them, as well as win badges and upload your results to social media such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Joking aside, think ‘strength in numbers’, the more people you add the more people who are there to remind you to get your butt moving and keep you motivated!
9. Update your progress
Your calories burnt are the most effective when all your personal details are accurate. If you're new to a fitness regime it is within the first 12 weeks of a programme where your body adapts and changes most drastically. A healthy weight loss is 1-2 lbs per week. Any changes in weight need to be updated as you progress to keep your tracker accurate. Most fitness apps will also then create you a graph of your progress and suggest hints and tips to keep you motivated, as well as offer congratulations for what you have already achieved, like a virtual pat on the back.
10. Remember to wear it
It sounds daft but even the best fitness trackers aren’t psychic. Your tracker can’t do much good if you’ve left it at home. It happens, and some apps have prepared for that, Fitbit offer ‘mobile track’ in their settings which means when you do leave your beloved watch at home, the app will still save your steps through mobile GPS tracking, providing you don't forget your phone as well!Before buying a watch be sure to read our ‘Wearables Review’ section to get the latest info on which watch is right for you!