When it comes to monitoring health and fitness, a certain amount of guesswork tends to be involved. As we are all unique, suggested class calorie burn values can be arbitrary at best, and when it comes to assessing the benefits of workouts done by yourself, results can become even more unclear still. On top of that, the rest of our day obviously hugely impacts on our overall wellbeing. Does your lunchtime workout really make up for your desk-based work, when compared to someone without a gym membership, but works outdoors? Fitness watches can be a great way to track this. Ranging from the humble pedometer to ultra high-tech watches with in built GPS, there is a tracker for pretty well every person.
I gave the Fitbit Charge HR a try, and set about seeing if it was sensitive enough to track my yoga practice. I was immediately struck by the range of functions that the Charge HR offered. With an in built heart rate monitor and the ability to work out my running total calorie burn, I could see how hard I was working when on the mat. This heart rate monitor was an added advantage, as I don’t think yoga would have been picked up on a more traditional fitness watch. It isn’t perfect of course, with the stretching poses not being noted, or the benefits of strength-building asanas. However, compared to what I have heard from other watches, the Fitbit was still picking up much more detail from my practice.
A big part of fitness –one that is often missed –is sleep. How easy is it on an evening to realise that you have long since missed the eight-hour window, and that the morning alarm is ticking ever closer? A clever feature of the Charge HR is that it can actually monitor your sleep. I’m not sure how accurate it is, but it is fascinating to look at how well I have slept, and even how long it takes to fall asleep. It does make you more aware of your sleep, and I have found myself dashing back home in the evening to hit my sleep target! So long as the Bluetooth on your phone is on, the Fitbit also has a silent alarm system that uses vibration rather than sound. It is much gentler way to be woken up, or can be used as a subtle reminder in the middle of your day.
Most of your stats –steps taken, distance travelled, calories burned and heart rate –can be read live on the watch itself, but the phone app is where all the data is stored, with milestones and weekly updates being emailed to you. It is a really good way to take a wider look at your progress. I was surprised at just how much distance I walked each day! My favourite thing to do was to look at my heart rate change –how did a series of sun salutations affect it compared to climbing the steps to get up the hill to my house?
Whilst I wouldn’t necessarily say that a fitness watch is as much as an essential for a yogi as it is for, say, a runner, but it was still highly informative, and the additional features of the Fitbit Charge HR made the watch a great all-rounder, useful from the yoga mat and gym to daily life.
Disclaimer: This post is in collaboration with Argos, who sent me a Fitbit Charge HR to test. All thoughts and opinions are my own.