Should You Wear Your GPS Watch All The Time? Pros and Cons

GPS Running watches have a variety of functions including sleep and activity tracking which is helpful when you’re trying to stay fit and healthy. With all that features, should we actually wear our GPS running watch all the time?

As a general rule, you should wear your GPS watch most of the time to get more accurate data and to make use of all of its functions like sleep monitoring. However, you should take it off when you’re going into the shower to avoid discoloration from soap.

Ahead, we will discuss more the pros and cons of wearing your GPS watch all the time. We will also look at what the watch manufacturers say about wearing it to the shower. And lastly, we will look at what other owners of these watches say about wearing them all the time.

Is It Okay To Wear Your GPS Watch All The Time?

When I first bought my watch, I wasn’t sure if I should wear it all the time. I mean, I bought it to track my runs but I certainly did not buy it so I would be wearing it all day long and turn myself into a cyborg.

Anyways, after many years of owning a GPS watch and wearing it most of the time, here’s what I recommend.

It’s okay to wear your GPS watch all the time. However, you should make sure to clean the watch and switch up the wrist where you wear your watch to avoid skin irritations. Also, don’t wear them into the shower to prevent discoloration from soap.

When you’re wearing your watch ALL THE TIME, it accumulates dirt from your sweat, the environment, your dead skin, etc. There’s so much dirt and bacteria on it that it is an absolute must that you wash it every single day.

According to a watch care guide from Garmin, you can wash your watch by rinsing it off with water, wiping it off with 70% isopropyl alcohol, and rinsing it off again with water.

Also, I’ve found that when you wear your GPS watch on the same wrist for days on end, that wrist will start to itch, get irritated and smell (yes, your wrist will smell).

So the best thing you can do is to switch up the wrist you’re wearing the GPS watch every day. That way, you’re giving your skin a break and prevent them from being a moist area (which is the breeding ground for bacteria).

Pros Of Wearing Your GPS Watch All The Time

Because GPS watches, activity trackers, and smartwatches have a plethora of features nowadays, wearing them all the time allows you to get the most out of your device.

Here are some pros of wearing your GPS running watch all the time.

You Get More Accurate Data

The more data your watch has, the more accurate it is at giving you information about your body.

Having accurate data about your fitness is crucial in building training programs and meal plans. The only way to get more accurate data is to wear your watch often.

Also, at the end of the month, it’s easy to look back and compare yourself from where you are the months before. Your sleep, heart rate, activity, calories burned, etc. It’s all there.

You can’t do that when you’re only wearing your watch during runs.

If you’re curious about what your watch tracks, I actually made an article of what it measures and their importance. Check it out.

You Can Look At The Data And Point Where You Messed Up

“Bad days” happen even to the most elite athletes. And if that happens to us, we (mere mortals) often don’t have a clue why that is happening. Well, if you’re wearing your GPS watch all the time, you can take the guesswork when trying to figure out where you went wrong.

In case you’re having trouble with your performance, you can look back and pinpoint where you messed up. Is it too much training? Is it your sleep? Is it your inactivity?

Having the data to base your theory upon will allow you to take the right steps going forward.

You Make The Most Out Of All Functions Like Activity & Sleep Tracking and Notifications

GPS watches aren’t just GPS watches. Most modern GPS watch also functions as a fitness tracker and a smartwatch.

They are built with activity trackers, sleep tracking, notifications, and some even have on-wrist payments like the Garmin Forerunner 745 in case you don’t want to bring your wallet when you grab a coffee.

GPS watch manufacturers have added so much functionality to these watches that it really makes sense to just wear them all the time to get the bang for your buck.

The sleep monitor is impressive too, it tracks not only the duration of your sleeping time but also the quality of your sleeping time which is mind-blowing. Check out the photo below from my Huawei Health App.

Most, if not all, modern GPS watches have this feature too.

But if you don’t have the budget for a $200-$400 watch and you want a very cheap but reliable watch, the Huawei GT2e is a good watch for its price. You can check the price on Amazon.

You’ll Know If You’re Active Or Not

Since you’ve bought this watch to keep you fit, these watches will alert you when you’re inactive for too long. It will literally say get up and move.

And, when you check your reports at the end of the month, you’ll know how active you are and compare them to your previous months (or weeks).

Cons of Wearing Your GPS Watch All The Time

Of course, it can’t always be all good. Wearing your GPS watch all the time also brings some disadvantages.

It Could Be Unsanitary

You wear your watch when you sweat, run on trails, poop (hopefully not), and walk around everywhere. Can you imagine how dirty your watch could possibly be?

Your running watch is packed with data, but it’s also packed with bacteria. The best way to avoid this is just to wash your running watch every day.

You Can Get Skin Irritations

Wearing something on your wrist for too long can cause some irritations and quite possibly, infections.

I’ve said it earlier but it’s worth mentioning again in case you didn’t catch that. Switch up the wrist where you wear your watch every day. Or, if possible, every 12 hours.

That way, your wrist could get some rest and be exposed to air to prevent it from becoming moist.

It’s Uncomfortable

Wearing your watch all the time can get uncomfortable in your first 2 weeks of wearing it. It will take time to get used to having a piece of hardware attached to you when you’re sleeping, eating, and working.

It’s not that big of a deal cause you will definitely get used to it after some time but I just want to let you know you’re not gonna love it at first.

The Straps Can Get Damaged During Your Sleep

I usually sleep pronated and tend to lie on top of my wrist (I don’t know why but I just feel comfortable sleeping that way).

When I wake up, my strap (not the original one but something I bought online) got torn. One other time, the collar that keeps the excess strap in place was the one that got torn.

Anyways, not that it’s gonna happen to everyone. You may not be sleeping in the position that I sleep so it’s probably fine. But that could happen and I suggest you buy some extra straps ahead of time.

Should You Wear Your GPS Watch To Bed?

Your watch has a sleep tracker and you’re wondering if you should actually wear them to bed. One part of you argues that sleep data is important but one of you is saying it’s uncomfortable and it may cause injury.

After wearing my GPS watch to my sleep every day for at least a year, I can say that wearing your GPS watch to bed is fine and recommended.

Sleep is a very important part of not just your training but also your health. It will help a lot in your performance if you can keep track of your sleep and make early adjustments in your training and routine in case your sleep quality is suffering.

Should You Wear It In The Shower?

There are times that I get so used to wearing the watch that I don’t even bother taking them off in the shower. Not that I recommend it, but sometimes it happens.

You should NOT wear your GPS watch in the shower because it prevents you from washing the wrist wearing the watch. Soap may also cause discoloration in the body and straps of the watch.

Soap can get stuck in the cavities and little holes of the watch that is really hard to remove which is so annoying. Also, soap can get stuck in the grooves of the watch making it look dirty and old.

Take a look at the strap of my old GPS watch.

Instead, use your bath time as the time you charge your device. Most devices have batteries that are so efficient that you don’t even have to charge the device for 2 weeks.

But charging it just a little bit every time you take a bath can extend the battery life so that when you do need to use your watch’s full capacity (GPS and all), it’s already ready to go and you don’t have to wait and recharge it.

Do Other People Wear Their GPS Watch All The Time?

To know if other people wear their GPS watches all the time, I looked up some of the threads on Reddit to find out what other people think. There are mixed preferences regarding wearing a watch.

One user says he wears his watch all week long and only takes it off in the shower or if he charges it once a week.

Another user with a Garmin Fenix 3 seems to agree and stated that he only takes it off when he sees dirt underneath it or when it’s time to charge.

However, not everyone seems to be doing the same.

One user stated that he/she doesn’t wear it to sleep because it bothered his/her wrist. Which some users agree on.

Another user only wears hers when she’s running because it’s too big for her wrist. Another female user added that she also doesn’t wear her GPS watch because it looks like a men’s wear.

There’s one user who went a little deep with his explanation as to why he wears his Polar GPS watch all the time.

According to him, activity tracking is a big deal because it tracks the times he’s laying, sitting, and standing. He also found great value in the hourly ”move alerts” which he takes as a reminder to take a break and move around his office.

Final Thoughts

There is value in wearing your GPS watch all the time. However, you don’t have to go to the extremes and never remove it at all.

I would recommend that you wear it often, like when you’re casually shopping for groceries, taking a walk, staying at home, working out, and sleeping. However, I wouldn’t recommend that you wear it when you’re in the comfort room, taking a bath or when you’re uncomfortable.

Not wearing your GPS watch for a few hours a day will not ruin its data (unless you did some activity that needs to be tracked).

Also, make sure you wash your GPS watch regularly and switch up the wrist in wearing them. This will prevent the build-up of dirt and bacteria as well as prevent skin irritations.

Nicho Mauricio

Running wasn't always my favorite sport. I was a CrossFit athlete and I loved every bit of it. But since the pandemic began, I was forced to stay away from the gym and train at home instead. Things got boring. That's when I decided to trail run with my friends. I instantly got hooked. So I started training and researching all things running. As a beginner, I want to buy only the best running gear and do only the best practices. This blog is where I share what I've learned in my journey and my experiences as a runner.

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