Smart watch, running watch or fitness tracker, or all three in one?
If you want to track metrics that give you an indication of how your running is progressing. You might be able to use any one of those. However a watch designed specifically to track running will give you better information.
However a general fitness tracker will give you some or most of the data you’ll get from a running watch and much more besides.
The fitness tracking properties are applicable to men and women. But there are some characteristics that make some more appropriate for women. This guide is intended to give you an over view of the best fitness watches for women and help you choose one.
Table of Contents
There has never been such a diverse range of fitness trackers on the market as there is today. Which is best for you very much depends on how you intend to use it and the features you’ll need.
You can pay anything from around $20 to $400 for a fitness tracker on Amazon. How much you pay depends on what you need from the watch and to an extent what brand you want. Buying the cheapest possible would be a false economy. The chances of a $20 import lasting as long as a well known brand are slim. At the same time theres no need to buy an Apple watch if its packed with hundreds of features you’ll never use.
Living With Your Fitness Tracker
How Comfortable Is It
If you want to track your sleep you’ll be wearing the tracker 24/7. The fit of the device is more important than you favourite dress watch. Consider the size of the actual tracker and how that will sit on your wrist. The strap needs to soft enough to mould around your wrist. Avoid ending up with a large part of the strap protruding through to the other side of your wrist.
I’ve had 3 Fitbits in the last 5 years. Until this last one I would wear it 100% of the time. Including when gardening. The two I damaged were due to silly reasons that I could have avoided. Of those two Id replaced the straps at least twice for each. There was some pain splatter on one I remember and the others just looked a bit tired. The ability to change the strap is a very nice thing to have and did extend the life of my first two devices.
Fitness Tracking Metrics
Some or all of these metrics can be used to gain an overall picture of your health. Ive been wearing a Fitbit for more than five years now. But it gives me a very good view of my key health indicators over a period of time. I can see trends and I can normally correlate those trends to causes.
For example. My resting heart rate went up during the covid-19 lock down(s). At the same time I put on 14 pounds of not muscle. When this weight started to come off my resting heart rate started to go down again. Its insights over time like that that make me very brand loyal to Fitbit.
Every step you take, every move you make, its watching you. I say move because the device is attached to your wrist when you clap its likely to count that as a step. The better brands have multiple sensors that work together to decide if a movement was a step or a hand gesture.
All good devices have this process worked out and are amazingly accurate. I cant vouch for the $20 devices but the Fitbit and Garmin watches are as accurate as you would ever need them to be.
Heart Rate Monitor
A metric that I think is a core function for a fitness tracker. I check mine every day and for running. I find it interesting that my heart rate can dip under 50 beats per minute at 3pm when I’m in the office. And how high it goes when I run a very familiar route at a familiar pace. That gives be a very clear indication of how fit I am.
With the monitor comes the App. The Garmin app is focused on fitness activities. I especially like the relative effort feature. I can see at a glance how my fitness is progressing comparing my effort to previous runs.
There’s direct correlation between a good nights sleep and how well you recover from a run. If training isn’t going well or I pick up a slight injury I can normally see that in my sleep pattern. If I have two nights of poor or short sleep I know I’m heading for trouble and I can adjust my training.
Fitness trackers that count calories use the metrics above combined with some basic stats about yourself to come up with a number of calories you’ve burnt in a day. Lots of different data points gathered, combined and passed through an algorithm to come up with a number.
So is one device more accurate than another? Probably. But it’s that number over time that is more useful. For example, knowing that according to the device on your wrist you burn 2500 calories in a day. Allows you to adjust your calories (up or down) depending on what your objective is.
I’m not saying that accuracy doesn’t matter here. The better manufactures are always working to get a more accurate number for you. But sticking with one brand does afford you to have confidence in the number you see on a daily basis.
Other Features And Functions
The Apple watch is a sizable piece to have on the wrist. It is a beautiful shiny thing packed with leading technology. Despite them coming in different sizes they some women find them to be too large for their wrists. The good news is there are hundreds of alternatives to the Apple watch that track the same fitness metrics.
Date and Time
Some of these watches are not watches at all. They don’t have a screen and need a smart phone to sync up with. So if you are used to or want the date and time on your wrist, don’t presume you’ll get that with every device.
Squeezing enough juice into a relatively small device that sits on your wrist is an amazing technical achievement. If you need to charge that device every single day that might take some of the gloss off that achievement for you. Depending how you use them, some devices can last a week between charges.
By water proof I mean can you get it a bit wet when your doing the washing up. I don’t mean can it replace your Omega Sea Master. Most fitness trackers from well known brands are water proof. Be careful if you buy a cheaper obscure branded tracker.
Conclusion: Best Fitness Watches For Women
Fitness trackers are very popular devices selling millions every year, helping people stay focused and motivated.
I could have rambled on here for twice the word count but I hope this guide gives you a few points to consider when choosing your next (or first) fitness tracker.
Frequently Asked Questions
How accurate are fitness trackers?
Most good trackers are very accurate at measuring the metrics they specify. Quality manufactures are always working hard to try to improve these measurements.
Can I play music directly from a fitness tracker?
Yes, there are models at the higher price point that will play music directly into your Bluetooth headphones.