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What Can You Do with a Garmin Watch?

Garmin offers advanced watches suited for serious athletes and budding fitness enthusiasts alike. There are a lot of different features available on different models, but all of them will help wearers gain a better understanding of their day to day fitness regimens as well as trends over time.

A close look at a Garmin watch.

Several years ago fitness trackers hit the market and grew rapidly in popularity. Serious athletes and casual fitness enthusiasts alike began wearing them to track steps, active minutes, heart rate, and more.

As fitness trackers advanced in technology they started to incorporate some of the features of smartwatches, like notifications for incoming messages and the ability to play music. In that environment, Garmin launched a line of watches with increasing sophistication that offers customers the best combination of fitness tracker smartwatch.

Related: Garmin Fenix 6 Review | Garmin Vivoactive HR Review | Garmin Fenix 3 Review

Why Wear a Garmin Watch?

Garmin watches tell time like an ordinary watch, but that’s just the beginning. A Garmin watch is really a tiny computer on your arm attached to a sophisticated database of biometric information. The watch itself tracks details of your daily physical activity to an almost uncanny level while also notifying you of any messages coming to your phone.

All of that data is available to you on Garmin Connect, an app on your phone that allows you to review your workouts, activity levels, and heart rate to track progress over time. Different Garmin watches boast different features, but each of them provides you with a level of activity tracking never before possible.

Who Should Consider a Garmin Watch?

A Garmin watch worn by a man in an outdoor setting.

Garmin offers a variety of watch options to fit most anybody’s needs. Their target audience is serious runners and athletes who want to track every detail of their workouts, as well as their body’s performance. That’s not the only population that can benefit from this technology though. Fitness trackers can also help those trying to up their activity level by allowing them to track progress toward their fitness goals.

Whether it’s just taking more steps today than you did yesterday or tracking average active minutes overtime, Garmin watches can provide data-driven motivation to help you achieve a more active lifestyle. Garmin watches are also great for the busy, connected techies out there. The smartwatch features allow you to keep connected to messages and social media without accessing your phone.

What Limitations Do Garmin Watches Have?

For many, the biggest limitation to Garmin watches is the price, especially if you’re interested in the most advanced features. The highest quality Garmin watches come at a price well over $500, which may not be a reasonable price for everyone, especially those just starting out on their fitness journey. Garmin watches also lack a few features of other smartwatches: most notably some of the advanced music syncing services that other watches offer.

What Features Can You Expect in a Garmin Watch?

A Garmin watch showing the Favorites menu.

Despite those slight limitations, Garmin watches offer a range of technologies for a range of audiences. Garmin offers a variety of watches, some with advanced features for serious athletes, and some with more basic options for casual fitness enthusiasts. All of the watches, however, are advanced technological tools designed to help wearers gain a better grasp of their own fitness journey.

Smart Watch Capabilities

Like all smartwatches, Garmin watches provide notifications when a phone call, text message, email, or other communication comes in. They can also connect to social media accounts and notify wearers of social media alerts. These alerts help keep wearers connected without getting their phone out in the middle of a workout. If you’re an athlete who also wants to stay connected at all times, you can have all the features you need in one watch.

Heart rate Monitoring

Every Garmin watch offers heart rate monitoring, either via chest strap or via wrist monitoring on the watch itself. Some people find the chest strap cumbersome but it’s a surefire way to get an accurate reading. Wrist monitoring is more convenient and doesn’t require you to wear extra equipment so you can monitor your heart rate all the time.

Basic Garmin watches only monitor heart rate via the chest strap but if you spring for a more advanced model you’ll be able to take advantage of wrist monitoring. Heart rate monitoring is an important part of many athletes’ routines and can be enlightening to anyone trying to take control of their health.

Syncing with Garmin Connect

While Garmin watches track a laundry list of data for your workout and fitness levels, you’ll need to access the app, Garmin Connect, to view a full picture of that data. After a run, you can log in to the app to review your running path, exact mileage, heart rate throughout, and other stats. The app also lets you review items like heart rate and activity level over time, helping you see progress toward long term fitness goals.

Run Tracking

A Garmin watch in middle of running gear.

Different watches have different run tracking capabilities, but each one has something to offer. Some watches will even provide post-run metrics that track how well your body recovers in the time immediately after a run. On the most expensive end, the Garmin Forerunner 945 offers spot-on heart rate and GPS monitoring to help serious runners keep careful track of their workouts.

It comes at a hefty price though– over $500. While the advanced features are nifty, they’re not necessary for anyone other than an elite athlete; most of us will be just fine sticking with a lower cost option.

Cycling Auto Detection

Some Garmin watches include a feature that will automatically detect when the wearer is riding a bike and switch into a mode designed to track cycling activity. This automatic feature saves users the time of reprogramming the watch before embarking on a workout.

Body Battery

Body Battery is an advanced feature of Garmin that uses heart rate variability, stress, and activity to calculate the wearer’s energy level throughout the day. When you look at your watch you’ll see a number between one and one hundred with a higher number indicating a higher energy level. Higher energy levels are an indicator that it’s time to work out, start on a project, or tackle an issue that needs solving. Lower energy levels indicate that it’s probably not the best time to attempt an intense workout, and rest and refueling are needed.

Barometric Altimeter, Compass, Gyroscope, Accelerometer, and Thermometer

Some Garmin models offer these advanced features designed especially for intense athletes who want access to data about their physical environment as well as their own physical fitness. Understanding and tracking these details can help athletes understand how they react to certain environmental circumstances.