What are Activity Trackers?
Activity trackers are usually wrist bands that will count your steps taken, calories burner, heart rate, distance travelled and even more options.
Are they useful?
In my experience they are very useful. Their calculation for BMR is within 10 calories of what my personal estimate was and at the end of the day the TDEE is within 50 calories of my personal estimates, so I would say they are very accurate at calculating calories being burned. The heart rate observed on the activity tracker I use is within 1 – 2 beats per minute from the cardio machine beats per minute. So ultimately if you are looking for something to help you track calories burned and heart rate they are extremely useful.
Do they always work?
Not always, and not always accurately. If the wrist band is too loose or too tight then steps, heart rate and other motion activated counts will be off. Many times distance travelled is also greatly off, when I compared the distance walked with an iPhone app to the activity tracker it was off by up by up to 3 km in a single day and I only walked 12 km total that day. Floors climbed is also very finicky, depending on slopes, and where you wave your hands or raise them this count can also be far from accurate a good example is I was doing a bootcamp one afternoon with lots of ups and downs, going from a pushup to a burpee to running on the spot with hands in the air and I only climbed 5 floors that day but my activity tracker said I did 124 that entire day.
What brand is the best?
I cannot tell you that, I personally use a FitBit and I like the options it has and the customizability that is has via its online website, and its iPhone app, but I have not tried any others. Anecdotally friends of mine have said it isnt much better at predicting BMR and TDEE than cheaper brands and really that is the main point for using an activity tracker.
Do you absolutely need one?
No you dont but they can make some calculations much easier on yourself at the end of the day.
What is the best reason for getting one?
Natural competition, whether you are competing with friends, against people online or just yourself you always want to outdo your step counts and do better.
What is the best reason for not getting one?
Am I happy with my purchase of one?
Yes, but I dont know if I would replace it when that time comes.