One of the biggest trends of the last couple of years is the usage of fitness trackers. Apple watches, Fitbit and many other companies sell quality products. Despite the debate about their value, their popularity continues to grow.
If you are new to the fitness trackers or a seasoned pro, there are few things you can do to maximize their benefit. The most important thing you can when using a tracker is to understand your motivation.
Are you a casual user looking for simple health data or a hardcore athlete looking for an advantage? Regardless of your goals, understanding why you are wearing it put you on the right track. Once you understand the why the following tips will help you get the most out of your new friend.
1. Calibrate it. Many of the trackers out there allow you to customize their setup. Things like age, height, and weight should be set immediately. Other things like stride length and BMI are important in helping provide accurate information.
2. Wear it. Most users find success wearing the trackers on their non-dominant hand. Make sure the fit is snug yet comfortable. One of the benefits of the technology is the amount of data that it captures. The more you wear it the more data you have, so wear it as much as possible.
3. Set Targets. Each day or workout should have a fitness goal. Whether you are a casual exerciser or a hard-core athlete, goals are important. Knowing you have a daily goal of 10,000 steps will motivate you to get up and walk around throughout the day.
4. Connect It. While each fitness tracker comes with their native app, there are many other apps that add value. Pick apps that play well with your device and the activities you take part in. Apps are important because the collect specialized information geared toward those activities. For a data junkie, specialized information is the cat’s meow.
5. Get Social. Fitness is more fun when you do it with a friend. Connecting your apps to the communities that use it creates a motivating camaraderie. You can use the community to compare times, activity levels and motivate each other. Even if you don’t take part in the discussion, just seeing what is going on is beneficial. You can pick up tons of useful information just by scrolling through your newsfeed.
6. Be Competitive. Using the tracker allows you to be competitive. You can compete against yourself, a buddy or the community. Using the data you can push yourself to improve your performance over time. Continuous improvement is at the heart of a fit lifestyle.
7. Calories Count. Don’t trust the calorie counter. The technology here isn’t as reliable as it needs to be yet. While it does provide a measurement, it isn’t accurate enough to rely on.
8. Reward Yourself. All work and no play make Jack/Jill a dull boy/girl. Being healthy is a long term process that can wear you out. Take time to celebrate your small accomplishments to help keep you motivated. Hit your exercise goal for the wee, treat yourself to a movie. Doing something fun to mark a goal accomplished will make you feel like your hard work is worth it.
9. One Tool. The fitness tracker isn’t the one thing that is going to solve all your fitness problems. It is just one tool in your toolbox. Used right, it can provide you with information to use your other tools more effectively. Review the data on a regular basis to see if there are any trends that need adjusting. Pay attention to what it says, but don’t rely solely on it.