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Wellness Finger on the Pulse: Buying a fitness tracker

Finger on the Pulse: Buying a fitness tracker

Finger on the Pulse: Buying a fitness tracker
By Dr Andrea Lim
By Dr Andrea Lim
September 09, 2016

Dr Andrea Lim shares her top tips on picking the best fitness tracker that meets all your needs, and some wants.


Wearable tech is all the rage these days, and given what it can tell us about our health, it’s easy to see why. The days where these trackers counted our steps seem like the dark ages. Today, they track our sleep patterns and measure our altitude, while some even scan barcodes at the supermarket and monitor our grocery shopping

The trouble is, there are so many to choose from, and it begs the question: which one is right for you? Here are some points worth considering in helping you make your purchase decision.

1. How much to spend?

Most decent fitness trackers cost between RM200 to RM 1,000. If you are a serious athlete looking to improve performance competitively, then look at the upper ranges, which have built-in heart rate monitors and GPS capabilities. However, if you are a casual runner or walker, there are great options below RM600. Anything below the RM 200 range may work fine, but may not have a display, and require you to pull out your smartphone to check your stats.

2. Smartwatch or Fitness Tracker?

Many fitness trackers these days come with smartwatch capabilities, and some smartwatches have fitness features built-in. They are however not the same thing, and a fitness tracker does what it says on the tin much better than a smartwatch can. It would be wise to decide on which one you truly want before making that purchase decision.

 3. Do you need heart rate monitoring? No, I mean really?

Heart rate monitors drive up the price of trackers significantly, so unless you have a specific reason for monitoring your heart rate continuously throughout the day, there may not be a real need for it.

4. Will you track sleep?

If you would like to find out whether you’re getting a good night’s sleep, check out the Basis Peak or the Jawbone. You can monitor whether you’re getting the REM cycle that you need every night.

5. Sport-specific

The Garmin Vivoactive and TomTom Multi-Sport are waterproof, and keeps tabs on swimmers’ activities; and the FitBit Surge, Polar and MioActive ranges are good for cyclists to record the miles pedalled, and cadence and power. Runners who want the convenience of not having to carry a smartphone on their runs could do well with the Fitbit Surge and Garmin Vivoactive, which have built-in GPS capabilities which tracks time, distance, pace and lap time.

6. Battery life 

You do not want to be charging your tracker every night, and the battery life of these gadgets range from 4 days to 6 months, so check and compare to make your life easier. 

7. Aesthetics 

Most trackers are bracelets, watches or clip-ons. Clip-ons have the advantage of being small and discreet, although not having a display screen could be a put-off for some. Bracelets and watches have to be worn on the wrist, and may not be the ideal accessory for your outfit. The Withings Activite is a lovely design and could be worn even to a cocktail party, but the Polar A360 is clearly a piece of technology and would not double well at a black tie event.

(Photo: iStock)

 With a perfect combination of charismatic beauty, grace and intelligence, Dr Andrea Lim is a firm believer in the values of hard work and dedication. Besides working in her family business, KL Sogo, the medical degree holder is also a partner in her husband’s health and fitness venture, Peak Fitness. 

To get in touch with her, please email

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Wellness wellness healthy living Dr Andrea Lim Peak Fitness wearable tech Fitness Tracker finger on the pulse


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