How to choose the best fitness watch for beginners

First published: 20-06-2017

How to choose the best fitness watch for beginners

Man at gym

As little as 10 years ago, the idea of owning a watch that could help you to get fit, lose weight or monitor your activity levels was pretty far-fetched. These days, fitness watches are vital to many people's workout routines.

No matter what type of activity you're looking to get involved in, there is an entry level watch that can help you on your way.

Here, we look at some of the options available to anyone buying a fitness watch suitable for someone with little or no experience of handling one, and explain a little about what you might want to look for in a fitness watch while we do it.

Casio Wave Ceptor Radio Controlled Watch Casio Wave Ceptor Radio Controlled Watch

While fitness trackers and watches that connect to smartphone apps are all the rage right now, plenty of people just want a reliable sports watch that provides simple, effective functionality.

The Casio Wave Ceptor is an ideal fitness watch for beginners, and includes:
  • Backlight
  • Countdown timer
  • Water resistance to 50 metres
  • Atomic timekeeping
  • Steel and resin case
This type of watch is ideal for timing your workout and monitoring how long you've spent in the gym or out on the track. The atomic timekeeping feature means the watch automatically picks up a signal from radio transmitters in locations all over the world, ensuring time accuracy is never a concern.

This watch will cope with being out in a rain shower, and its steel and resin case provides durability and a stylish sporting look.

Polar A300 Bluetooth Activity Tracker Polar A300 Bluetooth Activity Tracker

If want to step into the world of activity tracking, the Polar A300 is a great entry point and one of the best health and fitness trackers available for beginners.

Available in blue, pink, yellow, black, white or silver. the A300 is a neatly packaged, smart-looking fitness tracker that makes a subtle statement. Its features include:
  • Chronograph quartz movement
  • LCD dial
  • Polar 2-year guarantee
  • Backlight
  • Time, distance, calorie tracking
  • Activity reminders
  • Syncs with Polar Flow app

The Polar Flow app and web service is the ideal introduction to fitness tracking, with its intuitive interface and tailored feedback on your chosen activity plan.

There are a few fitness watches that have dedicated apps. Many of them are great for counting how many miles you have covered, the calories you've burned and the time you've spent exercising. With the Polar Flow you can set goals and get feedback and guidance on how to best achieve your aims.

The A300 is splashproof, so not one to take in the pool or leave on in the shower after your workout, but it is a durable watch that comes with a manufacturer's guarantee. If you're just arriving at the fitness tracker market and don't want to blow your savings on a high-end model, the A300 is a great entry-level tracker to get you started.

Garmin Forerunner 25 Chronograph Watch Garmin Forerunner 25 Chronograph Watch

Priced a bit over ₤100, the Garmin Forerunner 25 offers a staggering amount of functionality without breaking the bank. Such as:
  • Pace, distance, duration and calorie tracking
  • Large character LCD display screen
  • Heart rate monitor compatibility
  • Garmin Connect IOS app compatibility
  • Phone connectivity via Bluetooth
The Forerunner 25 is all about simple, intuitive functionality. The extra large black and white screen comes with a backlight for training in lower light, and the device is super lightweight with a thin watch casing for extra comfort.

There are only four buttons on the watch, and it is easy to pick it up straight out of the box and navigate through the various options.

As its name suggests, the Forerunner is aimed at runners and its functionality is designed to monitor the pace, distance and duration of runs, as well as the calories burned along the way. Function is something you'll want to think about with a fitness watch: will it track and measure the things your activity or workout involves. For example, a watch with a step counter won't be much help if you just want to go cycling or do a spin class.

Similarly, charge life is important too. The battery life on the Forerunner is excellent, providing over a week of regular usage on a single charge, even if the watch is synced with the Garmin Connect mobile app.

While you're out running with this watch, you can receive notifications about calls and messages direct from your phone via Bluetooth. Not bad at all for an entry-level fitness tracker watch for beginners. Another consideration when it comes to what you want from a fitness watch - smart watch style features.


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