Definitely not a gadget person. In fact, I enjoy eliminating as much stuff as I can and keep to the basics. But, these fitness trackers I see adorning everyone’s wrists – from pro-athletes to soccer moms – have me a bit intrigued. Gadgets or not, those trackers may be on to something and this study says they can be helpful in achieving exercise goals – at least for some. Maybe even you!
WHAT FITNESS TRACKERS CAN DO FOR YOU
The fitness trackers (and there are many, many types with more being introduced every month) quantify your workouts and movements as well as other behaviors in an all-encompassing way. They proclaim they can track calories burned, how many steps you take, how many minutes you sit without getting up, how restful your sleep is and more. But, here are some other larger scale advantages they may have besides charting your every move:
1. Small goals can become bigger goals.
You may like fitness trackers to help you see progress in yourself or to set mini-goals helping you achieve bigger goals in the long run. Achieving those mini goals can keep you motivated, too.
2. You may win the race.
The trackers may be a great tool for you if you have a particular larger goal in mind. They can help you get in tip-top shape for a particular big race or athletic competition and track your progress better preparing you for the event leading to success.
3. No cheating allowed.
The trackers help you be more accountable just wearing it on your body and act as a great motivator and reminder to keep fitness a part of your day.
4. Data geeks have a new toy.
Some people are motivated by data and all those numbers can really make some people very happy!
5. Effective ideas can help.
Some fitness trackers offer tips and ideas for useful exercise routine adjustments.
6. All levels can benefit.
You don’t have to be a fitness nut to appreciate them as the more simple ones can help you correctly gauge just how much exercise you are really getting for even a simple exercise routine and just how much it takes to achieve those 10.000 steps we are to get each day. This study found that pedometers can help with a walking program to be more successful.
7. Even the retirement homes may start distributing them.
This study says they can help older people lose weight. We tend to overestimate our activity level and the trackers give us the facts.
HERE IS WHAT FITNESS TRACKERS CAN’T DO FOR YOU
Here are a few thoughts on taking a realistic look at those fitness devices:
1. You still have to do the work.
The trackers don’t exercise for you. No can do. Instead of completely relying on a device to change your body, you need those fitness goals first and then use the monitors to help you exercise to meet those goals.
2. They can take a chunk of change.
Some of the fitness devices can cost hundreds of dollars and often aren’t everything the user was wishing for it to do. Shop smartly. This information on the recently best rated fitness trackers is a good start.
3. Not so good at recording your shut-eye.
Yup, this study says fitness trackers that gauge your sleep are not very accurate and tend to overestimate how much real sleep you actually have had.
4. All those numbers can be confusing.
Make sure you don’t overbuy for your needs with your tracker spewing out a lot of information you would never even want or can’t figure out what it actually means.
5. The numbers may be there but it is still the person wearing it that has to change.
Taking a hard look at what typically motivates you is important to determine if a fitness tracker is a good investment for you. Some still find better success with an exercise buddy or group or personal trainer, for example.
6. You should consider the exposure.
Here are some tips on reducing radiation exposure for these devices as the safety reports of that element are still out.
3 TIPS TO USING A FITNESS TRACKER
1. Start with the right settings.
Calibrate your tracker from the get-go. Your height has a lot to do with your walking and running stride. It may involve a bit of time and math but it is worth the accurate reads it will allow after doing so.
2. Choose your non-dominant wrist.
This study says the wrist trackers were more reliable at determining steps taken when they were worn on your non-dominant hand. It moves less and offers a more accurate read on how much your feet are moving with that wrist.
3. Sync up.
If you love data, make sure to check out if your tracker will sync with other apps to get a full-blown report on what you do and how effective your efforts are.
I shared my feelings on exercise here and I can’t even remember to wear a watch that easily so still not sure I will invest in a fitness device, but I would love to hear your experience with them or your thoughts. Should I do it . . . or not? Hang out in the comments and voice your thoughts, please.
- Need motivation? Some people to inspire you to do better right here!
- Healthy eating should be part of your goals too! Here is a great chef to nudge you along with easy clean eats!