What are Wearables?Wearables-400px

Just like everything in life, health and fitness is continually getting more technical. One of the quickest growing trends is wearable technology and related fitness apps.

Wearables in tech often appear as a clip on your belt or more commonly a band (Fitbit) or watch (Polar M400) on your wrist.

Are some better than others?

Common wearable tech such as activity trackers, do a great job of tracking steps and giving you an idea of when you are active or inactive allowing you to become more aware of your activity throughout the day. Activity trackers are best used for general fitness tracking, such as steps and daily movement patterns. Standalone activity trackers will not be able to differentiate between activity types such as cycling, weightlifting or rock climbing leading to less accurate results.

You can help to improve accuracy by measuring heart rate with a chest strap heart rate monitor, as they provide greater accuracy especially at higher intensities.

Common name brands such as Fitbit, Polar and Garmin are all very similar when it comes to fitness tracking accuracy and your decision will often come down to a few main factors:

What should I look for in Wearables?

Style of the watch/bands

If it is something that you are going to be wearing every day as an activity tracker you don’t want to be embarrassed by wearing it.

This tends to be less important with sport specific watches where data accuracy may be more crucial for performance purposes

Online fitness tools

Many brands have a large toolbox of online tools that can be used to help you track your data and give you graphical representation of your health and fitness stats


Certain fitness bands and watches will allow you to add sensors such as a chest strap heart rate monitor, cadence sensor etc…

Polar, Garmin and a lesser known brand Suunto have the largest selection of add-on sensors.

How do wearables work at Sport and Wellness?

Tech at MacEwan

At MacEwan University Sport and Wellness we have upgraded all of our treadmills and upright bikes along with many of our ellipticals. The upgraded machines allowing our members to take advantage of Life Fitness’ LFconnect to help them set and achieve their health and fitness goals. LFconnect currently allows for members to connect their FiTbit and Polar sensors to the app through the treadmill to the LFconnect app. LFconnect also syncs with apps such as myfitnesspal, kinomap, Runtastic and others to help you keep on top your fitness goals and progress. With LFconnect you can integrate your outdoor runs with your treadmill runs to help make comparisons and vary your workouts to make them more interesting. For those interested in a challenging themselves you can select from either premade workouts or create your own intervals with custom time, workload and even heart rate zone settings to help you get the most out of your training.

BPM Spin

Polar Club is a fun, interactive and highly personalized way of seeing how hard you are pushing yourself during a variety of activities. We are currently offering BPM Spin that will be using Polar Club. Polar club is a great way to get into Heart Rate Based Training, this is using heart rate zones to help the instructor personalize the workout for the individuals in the class. As you ride during BPM spin you will be wearing a chest strap heart rate monitor under your shirt, which will be connected wirelessly to two (2) large TV’s at the front of the room. The participants will see how hard their heart is working that day and will be able to adjust their intensity level based upon the instructor’s instructions as well as the readouts on the screen. As the individual’s heart rate climbs higher and higher you will see the boxes shifting colors, indicating different heart rate zones allowing the instructor to maximize the benefits the class it getting. The participants can look at how they did during their workouts and even compare it to previous workouts using the Polar Flow App on your phone or computer.

by Kyle Babiuk