Fitness Trackers: Do They Really Work?
Are you contemplating getting a fitness tracker to help you achieve your exercise and fitness goals? Fitness trackers are increasing in popularity because of the benefits that they offer. More importantly, because they are a motivational reminder each day.
Fitness trackers, also known as activity trackers, are usually worn on the wrist to measure various body parameters. Consistently wearing one helps you get moving, and in turn, this helps you achieve your fitness target.
What are Fitness Trackers?
Basic fitness trackers work like pedometers and measure the number of steps you take. But newer and updated technology enables it to do a lot more. Today, a fitness tracker can record the total distance travelled and even specify whether you are walking or running.
Nowadays, you can record your heart rate, blood oxygen level, blood pressure, calories and the amount of sleep you are getting through your fitness tracker. All this data can be transferred to your smartphone or computer, and you can monitor your overall health.
This way, you can meet your daily exercise target, keep track of the number of calories you’re burning and be reminded to drink sufficient water throughout the day.
How do Fitness Trackers Measure Steps?
When worn on the body, a fitness tracker uses a 3-axis accelerometer, which is a device that measures the acceleration due to gravity and the speed and direction in which the device is moving.
This data gets recorded and stored in the tracker, which is later processed and transferred to the software, and you can sync it with your smartphone or laptop. When you use a new fitness tracker, you will be required to enter your personal details like your fitness goal and your current weight.
This personalised algorithm in the software enables it to detect the different movements of your body, and each movement is recorded in the system. When you tap on any information that you want to view, the processed data is ready for you to read. It lets you know how many steps you took in the day and at what speed.
How to Use Your Fitness Tracker Efficiently
There are plenty of different fitness trackers available in the market at different prices, but you need to choose one that suits you and fits your budget. It doesn’t matter which tracker you choose, but sticking to a good plan and executing it every day will help you achieve your goals.
Some tips to keep in mind when using your fitness tracker are:
- Use your tracker every day - Your fitness tracker will be able to provide an accurate analysis and measure your overall health only if you wear it consistently. Have it with you at all times so that your steps get measured.
- Set a goal for yourself – You may have heard that 10,000 steps are the ideal number for a healthy individual. But this number differs from person to person, and you can check with your doctor or personal trainer to see which figure is the best for you. For instance, depending on your health and fitness goals, you can opt for an individualised plan and decrease or increase the total number of steps a day.
- Do activities that you like - To keep yourself motivated consistently, you need to set an exercise routine that you love doing. Whether it is going for a walk or jog or hitting the gym and working out daily, it should be something that you can incorporate into your life every day.
- Create a support network - Have you got friends and family who use fitness trackers as well? Make it a healthy competition, or share your fitness journey for encouragement and moral support. Go to the gym together or go on a walk together as often as you can.
- Accountability is the key - Staying consistent and true to yourself is what will benefit you the most. At your next check-up, show your fitness records to your doctor or discuss them with your personal trainer to measure your fitness levels and compare them to previous records.
Fitness Trackers and Weight Loss
When it comes to weight loss and fitness trackers, stay slightly more vigilant. Wearing a fitness tracker will undoubtedly show you how many calories you are burning and how many steps you are taking. However, this might also allow you to become complacent.
Research suggests that when comparing people who do not wear fitness trackers to people who wear fitness trackers, it is more tempting for fitness-tracker wearers to become more casual. Let’s take a look at the following example.
Suppose you set a goal of burning 500 calories daily, and you successfully meet that target by doing adequate exercise and keeping active throughout the day. So by the time it comes to having dessert after dinner, you don’t hesitate to reach out for that bowl of ice cream. This is because your tracker tells you that you have already met your target for the day, and your mind tells you that it’s all right to indulge.
This might make weight loss a bit more challenging, leading you to lose less weight than you want to, or it might slow down the process.
For efficient weight loss, here are some tips that you can follow when using your fitness tracker:
- Use your fitness tracker only as a guide and set your goal higher than it should be. For example, instead of setting your goal at 10,000 steps a day, set it to 12,000 or 12,500 steps per day.
- One of the biggest reasons for using a fitness tracker is self-motivation. So use it to gather and record data about your fitness which you can review later on. Let your fitness tracker be a reminder in your day-to-day life.
- Don’t forget about controlling your diet. Just because your tracker shows that you have burned a certain number of calories does not mean that you should not stop eating a well-balanced and healthy diet.
The Bottom Line
Using a fitness tracker can go a long way in helping you achieve your fitness goals. Just remember that it should be used more as a baseline or a guide for losing weight. Using it in the right way and following the tips mentioned above will help you lead a healthy life.