Advice on sports watches
Which sensors will help you improve your athletic performance?
A sports watch lets you measure, for instance, the distance you've covered, what your speed was, and how many calories you've burned, but also the conditions of your workout and what your heart rate was. You can of course choose the most comprehensive sports watch available, but be aware that the price has a lot to do with the number and types of sensors.
Heart rate sensor: A heart rate sensor records your heart rate. Insight into your heart rate will help you to direct your workouts towards improving your stamina and optimizing fat burning. An integrated heart rate sensor also lets you see your heart rate directly on your sports watch. Another option is to wear a chest strap with an integrated heart rate sensor. In that case, your heart rate data will be send to your sports watch.
GPS sensor: A GPS sensor records your route, distance, and speed. Upload the data to get insight into your routes after your workout is done. Check the accompanying app to see where you struggled or where your performance improved. Sports watches with a GPS sensor often also contain different training programs that use information collected by the GPS sensor. You can for instance race a Virtual Partner or improve your own lap times.
What app do you want to use to analyze your exercise activities?
Sports watches record your exercise activities. You can use this data to improve your performance and workouts. Your distance traveled doesn't say much on its own, but if you combine that with your route, speed, and heart rate, you'll quickly see where you can improve. To get insight into this, you can use an app. Independent apps like RunKeeper and Strava are quite popular. There are also brand-specific apps, such as Polar Flow and the TomTom Sports app.
Runkeeper: analyze your speed, tempo, and route during or before exercise, and let the app coach you while you work out.
Strava: Suitable for athletes who want to analyze their route. Compare your performance to that of your friends and pros and challenge them to beat your performance.
Polar Flow: Record your performance with any Polar product and compare it to your exercise buddies. Train together and bring out the best in each other.
TomTom Sports: Track your activity, view your statistics to prepare (new) workouts, and analyze your performance by showing your route on a map.
Accessories will complete your sports watch. For instance, you can use different sensors to learn even more about your exercise activities. An external heart rate sensor lets you measure your heart rate, a footpod tracks your walking speed, tempo and distance, and a cadence sensor measures your pedalling frequency on your bike. See the results on your sports watch. With an extra watch strap, you can make sure your watch never gets boring.