It’s hard to find someone who has never heard of a fitness tracker. But if you are one of them, we’re about to tell you everything!

A fitness or activity tracker is a compact, wearable smart gadget designed to record and monitor a user’s physical activity. It requires no effort other than the occasional recharging of the battery. Such a bracelet was specifically designed to visually analyze a person’s health. 

What can a fitness tracker do?  First of all, it measures the number of steps you have walked during the day (pedometer), and more advanced versions can determine:

  • speed of movement
  • the length of each step
  • show on a map the route traveled

It can also record parameters such as: 

  • heart rate
  • calories burned, and 
  • sleep duration

Who Got The Idea

The invention of the fitness tracker is attributed to many prominent figures, including Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham-Louis Perrelet, and others. In fact, Leonardo da Vinci is generally given credit for coming up with the original concept of the pedometer. However, neither he nor the other named personalities ever filed patent applications for their designs.

It is believed that it was John Harwood, a British watchman, who was granted the first patent for a pedometer in 1926. The patent was firstly given by the Federal Office for Intellectual Property of the Swiss Confederation for the world’s first self-winding watch.

<<< Harwood’s patent CH106583A

However, Harwood’s device can not be considered a fitness tracker in the usual sense. The world became aware of a fitness tracker after Dr. Yoshiro Hatano, a professor at the University of Health and Welfare Kyushu (Japan), launched a marketing campaign for his device in the 1960s. It was known as the ‘Manpo-kei’ (or 10,000 step meter) and was based on Dr. Hatano’s research that showed that 10,000 steps-a-day activity level along with balanced calorie intake led to the loss of weight and a healthier lifestyle. Hatano’s device was the first wearable pedometer released to the mass market.

Today's Fitness Trackers

Today’s trackers have already crossed the line of just fitness devices. They are now part of services that combine a mobile app and cloud computing to determine complex physiological parameters, such as heart rate variability and sleep efficiency. The user receives the results of their daily and weekly activity, where an app will produce changes in health indicators, charting and giving advice and recommendations. These solutions simplify health management because the data collection is continuous.

Almost every technology company has fitness trackers in their product line. For example, Xiaomi and Huawei. Some fitness trackers are ‘part of’ a smartwatch. Such devices are developed by Samsung and Apple.

Until then, only Google lagged behind its competitors. Over the past few years, there have been numerous rumors about the Google Pixel Watch concept. In December 2020, rumors surfaced that Google may be working on its first fitness tracker – and it has no display. The rumors emerged because of the publication of a new Google patent. The design patent US0D0904920 didn’t mention the specifications or features of the device. However, it does state that the new gadget is a ‘wristband for tracking fitness’. At this point, not much is still known about this fitness tracker and whether Google will actually release it.

What To Look For When Choosing a Fitness Tracker

Choosing the best fitness tracker among dozens of brands can be not easy. Such devices can be expensive, especially if they have extra features. Those looking for fitness trackers should first determine what features are most important to them and then choose the best fitness tracker for themselves. What features to look out for:

  • GPS and map accuracy: most fitness trackers are equipped with GPS, but they can vary in terms of map style and accuracy.
  • Activities: some people want their device to track their performance when biking, walking, swimming, surfing, or snowboarding in addition to running.
  • Battery life: those who exercise for long periods of time may want a watch with extended battery life. Long battery life can also be useful for those who plan to use multiple apps at the same time – for example, listening to music and using GPS simultaneously.
  • Weight and comfort: some people may prefer to purchase a lightweight and comfortable watch for all-day wear.
  • Music options: those who listen to music while exercising may prefer to buy a fitness tracker that can also play music.

Summary

Fitness trackers help you keep track of your vital signs. For example, they can remind you that your activity level is too low.  For this reason, devices are becoming more and more popular, because a small correction of lifestyle can allow you to avoid spending money on medical treatment. In addition, the bracelet is a stylish accessory that can complement and emphasize your look, as well as facilitate your experience of using a mobile phone, showing a notification from a messenger, which can be viewed on the go.


You can choose the best fitness tracker for you among the hundreds of brands available online and offline in stores. But remember, before you buy a particular device, determine what features are most important to you.