Smartwatches for a healthier new year
VANCOUVER -- It’s been called the "COVID 19" – not the virus, but the weight we’ve gained during the pandemic. If that’s you, you’re not alone. A recent survey found many people have gained weight since March of last year, including Lourdes Quintavalli.
“I think I gained weight because I let myself go,” she says, adding she blames the pandemic. “I let myself get depressed. I didn’t want to work out.”
So she resolved to get back into shape, and has been using a smartwatch to do so.
Consumer Reports tests dozens of smartwatches and fitness trackers every year. Both gadgets can help you get fit by counting your steps, checking your heart rate, tracking your sleep and reminded you to get moving, especially when you’re working from home.
The Apple Watch has long dominated the ratings, mostly because it’s so easy to pair with the iPhone and has a very accurate heart rate monitor.
The new Apple Watch 6 is no different, but it is on the pricey side at $990. For a less expensive option, consider the Apple Watch SE for $370, which is also near the top of the ratings.
If you’re an Android person, the Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 is a great choice, but is expensive at $500.
If you don’t need as many smart features, Consumer Reports’ Bree Fowler says you can try something else.
“A fitness tracker might be a good option for things like step count and heart rate," Fowler said.
The top-rated fitness tracker is Forerunner 235 from Garmin, for $250. Another option high in the ratings – the Fitbit Charge 3, which tests found was easy to use with both iPhones and Android devices, and only costs $130.
But no matter which brand or type of wearable tech you choose, it won’t do the hard work for you.
“A smartwatch or fitness tracker is a lot like a gym membership,” Fowler says. “It’s only helpful if you actually use it.”
That’s something Quintavalli is already doing.
“Now I’m on the journey of getting back on track, losing this weight, and not looking back,” she says.
With files from Consumer Reports