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How To Choose An Athletic Watch

Athletic Watches For Every Activity

Much can be debated about technology in this Age of Information and how it has enhanced our lives or numbed our senses to the natural world that surrounds us. But when it comes to devices and software that are used to track, improve and motivate athletic and physical performance, there is no doubt that the metrics and data provided by these devices make us better. 

Athletic watches have become a staple for daily workout routines for amateur and professional athletes, weekend warriors, gym rats, and outdoor enthusiasts. There are watches for any sport or activity you can think of, designed to capture your every move and download that delicious data for tracking your fitness level. It has never been easier to stick to a workout plan, get more fit, achieve goals or explore the world and share every sweat-filled session with your online social circles who are just dying to know how far and hard you went today.

Did you get 10,000 steps in today? Did you spend 20 minutes in your target heart rate? How many strokes per lap did you take in the pool? What was your elevation gain? Max speed? Resting heart rate? All these questions and many more are instantly answered by the vast selection of athletic watches on the market. 

Which Athletic Watch is Best For You?

The humble beginnings of running watches only had a stopwatch mode that left you with some basic math to calculate your mile pace along a course you brilliantly mapped out with your car's odometer. And who can forget jogging in place at a street corner, trying to take your pulse, fingers crammed into your neck to calculate a beat-per-minute while deciding to count for 10 seconds or 15? “Do I times that by 4 or 6?”

And this simplistic style may be all you really need, but even the entry-level watches, priced under $100 are equipped with basic GPS and heart rate monitors. As expected though, you get what you pay for with less than accurate heart rate and positioning sensors.

Having the ability to keep track of your fitness by comparing your improvement with heart rate data and speed over distance is extremely valuable. That’s the basic allure of athletic watches. Crunching these numbers to weigh if all this hard work is paying off is like having your own motivation coach in the palm of your hand. 

Athletic Watches to Consider

You will no doubt want to head down the rabbit hole of athletic watch selections online before settling on one that is right for you. And there are many to explore. Smartwatches have widened the base and include snazzy features like access to email, music, reminders, sleep monitors, you name it. We will hit a few price point selections to get you started on your deep dive.

Huawei Band 3 Pro ($74.00) 

The sleek touchscreen style Band 3 Pro has an entry-level price tag but delivers a lot of bang for the buck. With GPS and built-in, accurate, TruSeen heart rate monitoring, the Band 3 also provides sleep analysis and data-driven coaching. Waterproof to 50 meters, the Band 3 follows your workouts in the pool or open water. Many extra fitness analysis tools are standard in the Band 3 to geek out to. But if all that is beyond your interest level, it is still one of the best values available.

 Coros Pace ($199)

This multi-sport watch touts an astounding battery life of 25 hours in GPS mode. The Pace has all the components for taking your fitness to the next level with running stride analysis, algorithms to measure stroke rate when swimming, barometric altimeter and compass. The quick export of data to the accompanying app, easy to navigate data charts, and super reliable GPS connection means less time fidgeting and more time training.

Garmin Fenix 6X Pro ($749)

The Garmin brand has been in the GPS watch game from the get-go and has become synonymous with athletic watches like Kleenex is to tissues. The latest drop-the-mic release from Garmin is one clever piece of bling. Wifi, music, grade adjusted pacing guidance, weather and sunset info are just the tip of the premium mega-capabilities of the Fenix 6X. It also will estimate sweat loss to maximize hydration, adjust VO2 max to heat and altitude, and includes features based on blood oxygen and aerobic/anaerobic training effects. 

But does it count steps and provide sleep data? Yes. You can also watch animated Yoga and Pilates instructionals, peruse over 2000 preloaded ski resort topographical maps, access 41,000, full-color golf course maps with PlaysLike shot targeting info and tons of other granular data grabbing features to pour over during your recovery time.

And if $749 is just not enough of an investment for you, get the battery life-extending solar version of the Fenix 6X for a cool $1149.


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