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Got an Active Lifestyle? Stay On Time While Looking Sharp with a New Sport Watch

Got an Active Lifestyle? Stay On Time While Looking Sharp with a New Sport Watch

Many companies have tried to take credit for the invention of the sport watch. But like most devices, the sport watch does not have a sole creator. Rather, numerous experts added an idea here and an idea there over time.

The first and possibly most important innovation was waterproofing. Divers and swimmers had been requesting waterproof timepieces for years, and in 1926, Rolex stepped up to the plate.Their waterproof case helped define a new market for active users. It was not necessarily a sport watch, but it was the first step.

In later years, watchmakers designed specialty products for all sorts of outdoor sports. But there was no single, agreed upon definition of what a sport watch was. In general terms, it was a rugged, durable watch that could safely be used in numerous outdoor activities. These watches were almost always waterproof and were constructed of plastic and hard rubber instead of leather and glass. And after the quartz invasion, almost all of them were digital.

When it comes to timing, sport watches were sport specific. Most of them were designed to keep time for runners, while others were made with swimmers in mind. Nowadays, the modern sport watch can be used to keep track of just about anything, even your location.

The most notable addition to the high tech sport watch market is the GPS watch. GPS stands for Global Positioning System. Yes, those devices we get directions from when we drive. Now, you might be wondering why an athlete would need a GPS device strapped to their wrist. Allow us a moment to explain.

As you may know from using them in your automobile, a GPS unit not only pinpoints your location, but it can also be used track distance and speed. In a sport like cycling or running, knowing one’s pace and speed is important and has actually been shown to help athletes improve their time.

For the average recreational runner, a GPS sport watch can tell you when your two miles are up with more precision and accuracy than the average treadmill. And if you are so inclined, it can help you track and gauge your exercise and fitness levels. In fact, a growing number of people who suffer from serious heart disease and need to exercise to stay alive rely on these watches.
Of course, the primary function of a GPS unit is to tell you where you are, which is why the first people who purchased GPS sport watches were campers, hikers and hunters. Today, most Boy Scout troop leaders are encouraged to carry a GPS device when they take their boys into the wilderness.
Most GPS watches can be programmed to hold several different routes in memory, which means that they can tell you if you are going the right way. Not surprisingly, these devices are more popular with traditional outdoorsmen than they are with regular recreational athletes like swimmers and runners.

But because of their ability to track speed, pace and distance, they are becoming quite popular with professional athletes. The resources and expenses required to keep track of these statistics used to be enough to give the average marathoner a migraine. Fortunately, this new technology has made charting progress a breeze.

Probably the single most surprising thing about these new timepieces is their price. A quality GPS watch can be purchased from a top manufacturer for around one hundred and fifty dollars. Like all new technologies, the GPS watch has come a long way since it was introduced.
The most common criticism of the early GPS watches was that they were big and bulky. And they were. But many of the top models of today are only a bit bigger than the average watch. In fact, we have personally reviewed affordable GPS watches that weighed just sixty grams—a little over two ounces!

What are the disadvantages? As far as the GPS wristwatches have come in the last few years, they are far from perfect. While their size and weight is now within reasonable parameters, their limited screen size makes mapping and navigation difficult, especially at high speeds.

What does this mean for you? If you are not travelling at a high speed, probably nothing. For hikers, runners and hunters, the GPS watch is unquestionably an improvement over the bulky units of only a few years ago. But if you’re traveling on a bike and you don’t know where you’re going, the limited screen space might make it difficult to follow the preprogrammed route.

When shopping for a GPS watch, be aware that there are two basic types, GPS navigation watches and GPS running watches. The running watches are more likely to focus on time, distance, pace and speed, while the navigational watches often only provide exact location. At present, Garmin produces the most popular GPS watches for running, and Suunto offers the top models for navigation.  

Regardless of your particular sport or activity of choice, there is a perfect sport watch out there just waiting for you. Find yours now.

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