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by inKin
23 Jun

The Ultimate Fitness Tracking Dictionary For Newbies

These days, it seems as though everyone you know is engaged in fitness tracking.

Getting started can be complicated! If you're confused by some of the terms that are being thrown around regarding fitness bands, activity trackers, smartwatches, and other fitness tracking devices (what's the difference, anyway?), check out our dictionary of basic fitness tracking terms.

Fitness Tracker

A fitness tracker is a wearable device that enables you to track specific types of activity or other key health and fitness information. Most current devices on the market track your steps taken, distance walked, time spent being active and calories burned throughout the day. The new generation also measures your heart rate and sleep.

Wearable Device

A device that you can wear on you easily and conveniently. In the case of fitness tracking, it is usually a device that calculates key fitness information and is usually either a wristband or a small piece that can be worn as a necklace or a clip.


Many smartwatches have similar functions to fitness trackers. They may enable you to keep track of steps taken, calories burned and connect to a consumed calorie counting app. Smartwatches, however, also fill a variety of other functions, including Internet connections, smart notifications and calls, and often GPS. Typically, smartwatches connect specifically to your smartphone and do look like watches.

Sleep Tracking

Many of today's fitness trackers have a sleep tracking function that enables you to track the hours you've spent asleep. Sleep tracking is particularly valuable when, for example, you're a restless sleeper who frequently has trouble getting enough sleep at night, or when you routinely cut sleep to fill in other activities. Too little sleep can lead to weight gain, irritability, and low energy, making it a key part of the fitness process. Understanding your sleep pattern may dramatically improve the quality of your sleep and, hence, productivity and overall health. 

Step Tracking

Step tracking counts the number of steps you take over the course of the day. Many people use step tracking as a metric for determining activity level throughout the day. 10,000 steps taken daily is generally considered to be an excellent starting place, but knowing how many steps you take throughout a typical day enables you to choose a starting place for increasing your activity level throughout the day.

Calories Burned

Fitness trackers can give a fairly accurate estimate of the number of calories you've burned throughout the day. This information is based on of your height, weight, gender and age, as well as heart rate, your steps taken, and your general activity level. Knowing how many calories you actually burn during the day is your best bet for managing calorie intake for weight loss or maintenance. Most fitness trackers also come with apps that will track calories consumed, providing estimates for the number of calories that are in common foods and allowing you to input your own information. However, some devices can measure your calories in through your skin!

Active Time

The amount of time that you spend engaged in activity throughout the day, typically measured by the time your heart rate is elevated or you are moving for more than ten minutes, is an excellent measure of your overall activity level, your calories burned, and your lifestyle. The app that comes with your fitness tracker will enable you to break down your activity level throughout the day to determine the periods when you are least active (so you know your room for improvement). 

Additional Fitness Metrics

Depending on the fitness band you've chosen, your ability to track specific activities may vary. Most fitness trackers come standard with steps taken, calories burned, distance traveled, and active time. Others may include specific metrics for swimming, cycling, or other workout log options. 

Some additional features may include: 

  • smart notifications;
  • idle alert (a buzz that your band uses to remind you to get moving);
  • watch and smart alarm;
  • food and water intake log (via apps);
  • music control and NFC;
  • posture correction;
  • stress level tracking
  • more.

Knowing which options are available for a device may help determine which ones you want to use. 

To help you do your research and choosing process easy and pleasant, we've created our fitness trackers comparison tool. Simply tick your desired metrics, features, and budget, and our tool will do the hard work for you.

However, if you are still not sure which one you prefer, you can start getting more active with one of the free pedometer apps, including Fitbit (iOS and Android) and Withings (iOS and Android) apps.

The best way to discover everything that a fitness band can offer is to dive in and get started. Before you know it, you'll be a pro at decoding all of the information your fitness tracker can offer. Even better, do it with friends! Having someone to cheer you on along the way is a great way to enhance your odds of successfully reaching your fitness goals. 

Ready? Then we invite your to join our global, supportive social fitness community to find amazing new friends to participate in various fun and friendly challenges and competitions with and get active and healthy together!


Additional reading:

The Best Fitness Trackers For Women

How I Became A Victim Of My Fitness Device In The First 3 Months

How To Choose The Right Fitness Tracker Basic Buying Guideline



Photo Credit: Bigstockphoto

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