Wearables are all the rage these days. After all, how can you not track your steps, calories, heart rate, breath rate, blood oxygen level, sleep, hydration, blood glucose levels… you get the drift. We live in an age where people want to track everything that is trackable. What they do or do not do, with all that info, is a different matter altogether, but tracking is trending at the moment.
Lounge’s fitness writers and contributors, as their jobs demand it, are on top of everything that’s trending and here are the wearables that they have used in 2022.
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Zachariah feels wearables are growing exponentially, and for her, it has been one of the biggest fitness trends for the last two years. Today, apart from watches, there are rings, glasses, shoes and even clothes that can track multiple things. Zachariah, who wore a Fitbit in the past, used a Mi band till earlier this year and has not replaced it since she lost the band's charger. “It was a cheap band with bad sensors, and it just lasted two months. I mainly used it to track my steps,” she says. Zachariah also uses the My Fitness Pal app fairly regularly to track her macros, mostly protein. “I try to hit 100 grams of protein daily, and it is really hard to hit that,” she explains. She hasn’t gotten a new tracker because she says she is cheap when it comes to technology and prefers spending her salary on books, cats and clothes instead.
Let’s turn to the runner and Crossfitter now. She wears a Garmin FR35 almost every waking minute. She has also used a Coros Pace 2 this year, which she also reviewed, and Garmin’s premium adventure and multisport offering Fenix 7 Sapphire Solar, which remained unscratched even after an accident that left Sen bleeding and required some stitching up. Sen uses her tracker mainly to track her runs. She likes it because, left to her own faculties, she cannot control her pace. “I tend to push too much in the beginning, thinking I am fresh and the day is great. The result is I end up getting exhausted along the way. The tracker helps me pace myself nicely even if I am running alone,” she says. Her Garmin FR35 is on its last legs, and she intends to upgrade as soon as it conks off or next year, whichever is earlier. “I want to get something that I could use to track my swims, and the FR35 doesn’t track swims," she says.
The football expert and commentator, who also writes about fitness and practices what he preaches, once walked into a store and was pitched a smartwatch. The salesman started listing everything it could track when Dhar interjected and asked, “How many watch faces does it have?” He doesn’t care for tracking anything except the distance covered when he is playing football. “But I am not going to wear a smartwatch when I am playing for the fear of wrecking it,” he says. Dhar prefers analogue watches and shies away from wearables because he doesn’t want another piece of tech in his life to stare at. “I rely on how my body feels. Over the last 15 years of exercising and playing, I have figured out the signs that my body gives me… all of this heart rate… I believe your body will give you a sign when you are overexerting. Tracking steps is another psychological barrier; I don’t think 10,000 steps should be compulsory in life. Exercising for 30 minutes on the spot could very well be better than racking up 10,000 steps, and science would also show that. Given my metabolism and workout routine, the need for a wearable has never arisen," he says.
I am curious about new tech in fitness, and I have used plenty of wearables this year. Some I bought, some came for review, and some didn’t excite me, so I turned them down. The one I was most curious about was the Continuous Glucose Monitor, which was sent by HealthifyMe. I hated piercing myself with the sensor’s needle, and even though the online trainers and nutritionists tried to help me understand my glucose spikes, I didn’t really benefit much from this one.
Then there was Garmin FR955 Solar, Garmin 255S Music, and recently received the Garmin Venu Sq 2 Music — all three review units. I also used the Apple Watch SE (mine), Apple Watch 7 (a friend’s) and fiddled with the Apple Watch Ultra this year. While the Apple Watch Ultra is a big improvement on the regular models, its battery is still strictly average, and the companion app needs a fair bit of work. The Apple Watch SE is lying in my drawer, used only to entertain my niece, who loves swiping through watch faces. I used the Garmin FR955 Solar and FR255S music to train for a half marathon, track swims, cycle rides and workouts. I need a Garmin on the right wrist as I love wearing a mechanical watch on the left. I am looking forward to the new wearables launching in 2023, especially the ring that tracks sleep and other stuff.
Shrenik Avlani is a writer and editor and the co-author of The Shivfit Way, a book on functional fitness