A fitness tracker or smartwatch can be a valuable tool to assist your fitness journey. These devices can record various physical activities such as your steps taken and distances travelled. They can also provide motivation and help you reach your fitness goals.
For a smooth setup process, follow this guide. Once your device is ready to use, consider these five tips for maximising its potential: cleaning the device, improving tracking accuracy, and more.
Getting started with your fitness tracker or smartwatch:
- Charge it:
When purchasing a fitness tracker or smartwatch, some come with a USB charging cable and an AC adaptor for charging via the mains, while others only come with a USB cable. In this case, you can use an AC adaptor that you already own, such as one for your smartphone or tablet, or charge it through a USB port on your computer or laptop.
There are three main types of connections between the USB cable and your device. Some fitness trackers and smartwatches have a micro USB slot, and charging is as simple as plugging it in. Others come with a magnetic charger that attaches to magnets on the back of the device, or a clip that holds the device in place while charging.
When your device is charging, a battery or similar symbol will appear on the screen to indicate that it is connected and receiving power. The battery life of each smartwatch or fitness tracker is tested to give you an idea of how often you will need to charge it.
- Pairing it with your smartphone:
In order to use a fitness tracker or smartwatch, it is necessary to pair it with a companion app on your smartphone. The name of the app can be found in the manual that comes with the device. In some cases, it may be necessary to install more than one app.
It is important to note that most wearables are compatible with both Android smartphones and iPhones, however, some devices may only be compatible with one operating system. For instance, the Apple Watch can only be used with iPhones.
To install the companion app, you will need to go to either the Google Play store or the App Store on your smartphone. Once there, search for the name of the app (such as Fitbit or Garmin Connect) and click on the “install” button to download and install the app.
- Setting up the account
To get started with the app, you will need to either create a new account or log in if you already have an existing account with the brand. The account creation process involves several steps, including the selection of a unique username and password, and the provision of biometric information such as height and weight. In addition, you will also need to choose your device from the list provided. Finally, you will be required to accept the terms and conditions of the app before you can complete the account setup process.
- Pair it with the phone:
The next step after setting up your account is to pair your fitness tracker or watch with your smartphone. This will allow you to access and view your health and fitness data through the app. In order to successfully pair your device, you must ensure that your phone is near the device and connected to the internet. You will also need to turn on the Bluetooth on your phone, which can be found in the settings menu.
In case the pairing process does not begin automatically, you can look for a pairing or setup option in the app. Good quality companion apps will provide clear and concise on-screen instructions to guide you through the process of pairing.
If you experience any difficulties with pairing, it is recommended to move away from other Bluetooth devices such as headphones or speakers before attempting to connect. This can help resolve any issues that may be causing difficulty in the pairing process.
How to stay active with the help of your fitness tracker:
With your account set up and your device paired, it’s now time to start utilizing your fitness tracker or smartwatch to track your physical activity. To fully utilize the device’s capabilities, it is essential to become familiar with the controls and features. This can be done by reviewing the manual that came with your wearable.
Most fitness trackers or smartwatches have a button for navigating through the on-screen menus, displaying information like steps taken, heart rate, or calories burned. Some devices also have buttons with different functions or a touch screen.
For wearables with only a touch screen, it’s necessary to understand the gestures used for navigation such as swiping up, down, or tapping. This will help you effectively use the device and access the information you need.
Tips for making the most out of the fitness tracker:
Some smartwatches and fitness trackers are known to be unreliable when it comes to tracking statistics like steps taken, distance travelled, and heart rate. Tests have revealed that some wearables from popular brands can be off by as much as 60% when measuring heart rate or 80% when counting steps.
To ensure you have a reliable and accurate device, it’s recommended to choose one of the best fitness trackers or the best smartwatches on the market. However, you can also take steps to improve the accuracy of your wearable.
- Enhance accuracy by entering biometric data:
By adding your biometric information, you can improve the accuracy of the step count and distance calculated from your steps. Look for options to add additional biometric data, either on the smartphone app or directly on the device itself. Some apps allow for easier data entry on the larger screen of your phone. Adding your height or stride length can help increase the accuracy of the readings.
- Wearing it properly:
Correct positioning is crucial for accurate tracking, especially for wearables with built-in heart-rate monitors. Consult the manual or setup instructions on your smartphone for specific positioning guidance. Usually, the device should be worn tight above the wrist bone but some manufacturers have more specific recommendations.
- Keeping up with the updates:
Regularly updating your fitness tracker or smartwatch and its companion app is important. Updates resolve issues, add new features, and ensure data and privacy protection.
- Set your goals clear:
To stay motivated, track progress, and reach your goals, consider using features such as setting custom goals, competing with friends online, earning badges, and viewing weekly workout summaries offered by some of the best fitness trackers and smartwatches. Set realistic, challenging goals, and adjust as you progress.
- Make sure to keep the tracker clean:
Clean your fitness tracker or smartwatch regularly, especially after exercise or extended wear, to avoid unpleasant odours and skin irritation. Cleaning methods vary based on the material of the band, with most being made of plastic or rubber. Generally, a damp cloth and mild soap can be used, but check the manufacturer’s guidelines for any specific restrictions, as some may advise against harsh cleaning products or only allow for water cleaning.
Keep your fitness tracker or smartwatch clean by wiping it with a damp cloth and mild soap to remove oil and dirt. Avoid contact with bug spray, alcohol, makeup, perfume, sunscreen and other lotions. For tough stains, check the manufacturer’s guidance. Dry the band and skin properly after exercise or swimming. Avoid wearing it constantly and give your skin a break every so often.