Finding time and motivation to get up and exercise can be a challenging task in this age of smartphones and tablets. However, with innovation and creativity, technology have also created devices, such as fitness trackers, to encourage us to move our bodies. Fitness trackers, from wristbands to phone apps, can have a lasting impact on your health and weight-loss efforts, but they cannot provide any benefits if they are kept in a drawer. Here are five tips for maximizing your fitness tracker to reach your health goals.
Find your fitness baseline: Start by wearing your fitness tracker for one week without modifying any of your current day-to-day routine. This will clearly show you how much you sit, move, exercise, sleep, and other daily activity patterns. Fitness trackers provide insight and eye-opening information about your lifestyle, and this awareness is one of the first steps towards weight-loss and a healthier you. Armed with the data you just collected, set a small goal for yourself, such as increasing your overall activity by 5% each week. You want to start with small goals and slowly raise your own bar. This will make achieving each milestone a little easier, and being able to reach each goal will, in turn, motivate you to aim for the next one. Just keep it slow and steady, and before you know it, you will soon be logging 10,000 steps per day!
Set regular check-ins with yourself: Pick a mid-day time and set a timer on your phone to remind yourself to check your progress. An hour before lunch, for example, is a good time to see where you are in relation to your daily goal. That way, if you are behind on your pace, then you can go for a walk during lunch or during your afternoon break. You can also set an alert to go off if you have been sedentary, say, every two hours. That can be a friendly reminder for you to get up and go for a quick lap. Regular check-ins will help you give yourself time to do something to reach your daily goal before it is too late and the day slips by.
Sync with a food journal: As you probably have heard countless times, exercise alone or diet alone will not be enough to completely get you to your weight-loss goal. It would not matter how much time you spend on the treadmill or how many crunches you can do in a day – you just cannot out-exercise a bad diet. Many fitness trackers have an option to sync with an online food journal, such as MyFitnessPal. By monitoring food and exercise on the same device, you can see a complete picture of how your diet and physical activity work together for your overall health.
Check your zzz’s: Establishing good sleep hygiene is crucial when starting or maintaining a diet program. Many individuals overlook the sleep function of fitness trackers and focus solely on the exercise features, but sleep patterns contribute to your overall health and can give clues about lifestyle improvements that you can make. The amount of quality sleep you are getting can have a profound impact on weight loss and overall health. Using the sleep tracker feature can let you know if you are getting enough sleep and clue you in on things that may be impacting your sleep.
Be social: One of the benefits of fitness trackers is the ability to connect with others who use the same device. People often find that they get better results with strangers, because everyone is trying to reach a fitness goal. Everyone can support each other, share tips, and stay engaged.