Fitness trackers have evolved over the years, from simply counting steps to extracting more advanced health indicators, such as heart rate and blood oxygen
On Sunday, Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed, Crown Prince of Dubai, shared clips of his workout, with apparent assistance from American wearable technology company Whoop.
Aside from often posting about his active lifestyle, the Crown Prince met the chief executive of Whoop last year to discuss industry trends.
Health and fitness are major advocacy points for the Dubai royal, and companies have been disrupting the health scene with advancements year-on-year.
Whether or not these fitness trackers actually do the job boils down to individual usage.
“Fitness trackers can help spur you on your fitness journey, but it’s only as effective as the clarity and integrity of your intention. That’s the key: goal-setting,” Dubai wellness expert Linda Chambers Cochrane tells The National.
“Set a clear and actionable goal for yourself and use a fitness tracker to monitor your progress,” she added.
There are many brands offering wearable technology now, and what’s best for an individual is based on a lot of factors, from current lifestyle to fitness goals. Here’s a look at the wearable devices on the market now.
If a tracker fit for royalty piques interest, check out Whoop.
There's a reason why Sheikh Hamdan, who often shares clips of himself working out, uses a Whoop, and that is its technology when it comes to cardio-intensive activities and recovery. One of the tracker’s strongest suits is its use of data, which analyses three metrics: strain, recovery and sleep.
The Whoop 4.0 prides itself on not being a traditional smartwatch, but rather a device with the sole purpose of tracking performance and recovery – no screens, no notifications, no other distractions.
Another unique thing about Whoop is that it is subscription based. Users are actually paying for access to the Whoop application, and the base model of the tracker is free.
Verdict: This device is for those who are big on data, and are looking for a more focused, distraction-free fitness tracker
Dh919 for an annual membership on whoop.com
Fitbit Charge 5
Fitbit has been a staple in the fitness tracker scene for a while, with diverse product offerings.
The Charge 5 comes with basic tracking features, such as heart rate and sleeping pattern. It also has a strong battery life, and comes at an affordable price compared to other mainstream wearables.
Fitbit is known for its intuitive screen interface, and this is highlighted in Charge 5’s most noticeable improvement from older models: the screen. The latest Charge product has a coloured Amoled (type of Oled display) touchscreen, making it more user-friendly.
If users decide to pay extra for a Fibit Premium feature, they get the company’s Daily Readiness Score, which provides a more straightforward interpretation of the data it extracts. The score gives personalised workout and recovery recommendations, guiding wearers to adjust their activities according to their bodies.
Verdict: Perhaps the cheapest and the most reliable in the pack, this device does most things you need while being relatively cost-effective
Dh413 on noon.com
Garmin Fenix 7
This heavy duty watch is for more competitive athletes, or those who are advanced when it comes to their fitness regimen and daily physical activities.
At its core, this Garmin product line is an outdoor watch, particularly designed for the ultra-active. Whether it’s for diving in Fujairah or trekking in Ras Al Khaimah, this device could be the perfect companion. It has advanced monitoring capabilities, including a real-time stamina metre that shows energy levels during activities that could aid in adjusting effort accordingly.
For those training for a marathon, the device can predict race performance based on training regimen. It has a jet lag adviser and a recovery tracker, among other features. Like a regular smartwatch, it can play music and get email notifications.
It is quite bulky, but Garmin is known for marrying design and performance in its devices, including in its Fenix line.
Verdict: Athletes and those who live an intensely active lifestyle can opt for this fairly expensive watch
Dh3,665 at virginmegastore.ae
Xiaomi Smart Band 7
Investing in a smartwatch could break the bank, which is where Chinese technology company Xiaomi comes in.
The Smart Band 7 is one of the cheapest fitness trackers on the market, but has the basic features one would expect. Xiaomi’s Smart Band line-up has been criticised for its wonky sensors, but the latest version hits the mark when it comes to basic accuracy, according to several technology reviewers.
It has a heart-rate monitor, and a blood oxygen tracker too, but its software power lies in its vast array of sports modes, making it a good companion in a variety of workouts. The pill-shape design is not the most stylish, but it is lightweight.
In terms of compatibility, the Smart Band 7 is paired with the Mi Fitness application on Android phones. It can also used with an iPhone. The device can last for a few days or even up to two weeks without recharging.
Verdict: For those wanting a cost-effective basic fitness tracker this hits the mark
Dh130 on amazon.ae
Apple Watch Series 8
For iPhone users, this is the most intuitive smartwatch. The Apple Watch line has undergone a lot of improvements since the first version was released in 2015.
Series 8, the latest in the line, takes pocket fitness and safety to the next level. It has a heart-rate sensors and other advanced trackers things like blood oxygen and sleep patterns.
The watch also comes with improved motion sensors that can detect a fall or a crash, and can help in sending out emergency messages as needed.
It also has access to a massive application library. Users can download third-party apps, from yoga to meditation and other workout guides, to complement the device’s built-in features.
Verdict: Ideal for iPhones users who want best-in-class fitness tracking, but be ready to charge it every day because of its dismal battery life
From Dh1,599 on apple.com