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TomTom reveals new features for fitness watches: what’s your Fitness Age?

Fitness and activity trackers evolve with new ways to track workouts, score points, gain rewards and determine your personal fitness level

TomTom reveals new features for fitness watches: what’s your Fitness Age?

The latest fitness watches from TomTom – the Adventurer, Runner 3 and Cardio 3 – launched way back in 2016. At this week’s IFA 2017 consumer electronics show in Berlin, TomTom announced updates for the app, devices and website designed to change the way you view your fitness level and how you improve it.

Fitness age, fitness points and personalised workouts will be rolled out across the Runner 2, Runner 3, Spark 2, Spark 3 and Adventurer fitness watches from September 2017. There will be a staggered rollout, with a number of software releases for the watches, app and website through September. We’ll put the latest features to the test later this year.

TomTom fitness watch and activity tracker reviews – find out how the TomTom devices performed in our tough tests

TomTom introduces a new form of fitness tracking for 2017

Fitness age
Plenty of activity trackers and fitness watches report data called VO2 max. This confusing term is meant to give you an indication of your maximum rate of oxygen consumption during exercise. But what does that actually mean when it comes to your daily run or dog walk?

TomTom has launched a new metric that aims to put your VO2 max into a context that’s easier to understand: your fitness age. Your VO2 max is compared with global averages for your gender to determine your personal fitness age, which is then displayed on the app.

The aim is to have a fitness age that’s at least five years lower than your actual age, so a 35-year-old would be aiming for 30 or below. If you do have a fitness age lower than your own, you’ll receive celebrations and congratulations via the app. If it’s higher, there’s no celebration for you – instead you’re simply told that you’re less fit than other men or women your age.

That’s all very well, but how does it help you improve? Based on your fitness age, three activities will be recommended to you via the app or the website: for example, 20 minutes of running while in your cardio HR zone will help you stay active, or 45 minutes will help you to improve.

For current TomTom owners, fitness age will be calculated based on your data since January 2016, so you won’t have to spend time building up your personal fitness profile.

Fitness points
TomTom will also be adding a new way of measuring your activity levels, called Fitness Points. This moves away from straightforward heart rate, duration, distance or step tracking and instead takes account of the type and intensity of your exercise and awards points for each activity. The higher the intensity of the exercise the more points you receive – so for example, a 10-minute run will achieve more points than a 20-minute slow walk.

Your points are added to a daily figure – 100 is the aim for daily activity, but 500 points puts you in the ‘improving’ category meaning you’ve done enough activity to decrease your fitness age and benefit your health. For every day in a week that you get over 500 fitness points you’ll get a star reward, and TomTom say you should aim for three stars per week.

Personalised workouts
Another new feature is guided workouts that are designed around your goals. First select the type of exercise you want on the watch or website, then what your goal is for the workout: fat burn, endurance, fitness, speed or power.

You can then select duration and intensity, which is based on your personal fitness level and what intense activity means to you, and you’ll receive step-by-step guidance including a warm-up and cool down. The workouts can be adjusted manually via the website as well, such as adding an exercise programme from a personal trainer. At the moment, this is limited to running and cycling.

Putting TomTom fitness to the test

These are interesting developments to the current TomTom range of fitness watches, but it does feel a little complex. Although the app and website will do most of the work for you, there are quite a few new measurements to take in to account. It might take a bit of getting used to, and we’ll put the updates to the test properly later this year.

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