It’s that time of year again. Time to recommit to living a healthier lifestyle. What’s your goal for 2015? Eat more fruits and vegetables? Drink more water? Spend at least 15 minutes a day relaxing? Exercise more?
Making fitness or weight loss related goals is pretty common, and actually pretty easy to do. The hard part can be staying motivated day after day to reach those goals.
People are looking more and more to fitness trackers to do just as their name implies….keep them on track. Only 16.3 percent of American adults reach the recommended 10,000 steps a day. In fact, 36.1 percent of American adults qualify as sedentary, defined as less than 5,000 steps a day. While it’s always best to work with a qualified health and fitness professional and your physician when making changes, wearing a fitness tracker definitely has its benefits. Plus, how cool and powerful would you feel wearing a sleek and colorful wristband with flashing lights?
What is a fitness tracker?
Fitness trackers (or activity trackers) are worn on your wrist or clothing or can be carried in your pocket. They’re available with multiple features and various designs for every lifestyle and budget. There are even trackers for kids!
At their most basic, these devices are fancy pedometers, keeping track of how many steps you take in one day (activity tracker). In addition to steps, some devices also track your heart rate, how many calories you burn, monitor your sleep, suggest improvements in your lifestyle and even remind you to get up and move once every hour (fitness tracker).
What are the benefits?
- Accountability and Motivation
Wearing an activity or fitness tracker is a constant reminder of the goals you set. It’s almost like having Jillian Michaels right there with you!
- Goal Setting
Knowledge is power. Knowing your current activity or fitness level can inspire you to push yourself further.
- Connect with Family and Friends
Set up a friendly competition with people working towards similar goals. I’ve seen the benefits of this first hand between my father and our pastor. In the past, you would find these two sitting and talking about farming and the happenings of our small hometown. Now with activity trackers on their wrists, they walk and talk about the same events. At day’s end, they compare total moves (or steps). One goes to bed victorious, the other gets up earlier the next day to get a head start.
- Discover More Opportunities to Move
When you track your steps each day, you’ll recognize that taking the stairs instead of the elevator or parking in the furthest spot from the door can make a difference. You’ll find yourself making choices just to improve your numbers. Heck, you may even discover a newfound desire to vacuum more spaces and unload the dishwasher, two activities proven to rack up the moves. (On second thought, maybe those chore-related activities can be saved for the kids!)
Which tracker is right for you?
Before purchasing a fitness tracker, go through this checklist:
- What’s your budget?
- What do you want to track?
- Where do you want to wear it?
- Does it need to be waterproof to track activities such as swimming?
- Do you want the tracker to sync with a smartphone app or your computer?
- Should it be compatible with other devices, programs or apps?
Once you know these things, do your research, read reviews and determine which is right for you. The perfect fitness tracker is ready to help you get moving and, more importantly, motivate you to stay moving.
Need extra incentive to get moving? Join the Healthy Choices Greater Grand Forks Walking Challenge. Together, let’s walk 1 million miles in 2015.
Rachel Aure, Altru’s Health and Wellness Specialist, performs health risk assessments and fitness assessments, develops exercise prescriptions, provides medically supervised exercise sessions and applies behavioral and motivational strategies to support clients in adopting and maintaining healthy lifestyles. She is a Certified Advanced Health and Fitness Specialist and a Wellcoaches Certified Health and Wellness Coach. She has 15 years of experience in medical fitness and the health and wellness field. Outside of work, Rachel enjoys spending time with her family and friends.