How are fitness trackers good for you?

Smart watch with fitness tracker

You may be wondering what the benefits of these trackers are and how they can help improve your health. If you're looking for your new gadget: a fitness tracker to wear on your wrist, here are some suggestions.

Motivate your training.

Fitness trackers can increase physical activity in older women, according to a study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine. This finding could be important because Harvard Health Letters explains that these tools can help you be more accountable for yourself. This is because you can see exactly how active you are, or how inactive you are.

Fitness trackers are more accurate than keeping track of your activity in a journal or notebook because we are not objective when observing our progress. Trackers are ruthless and impartial judges - they simply report our activities to us.

If you set a goal, like an extra 1,000 steps a day, you'll get immediate feedback on that goal and whether or not you achieved it. This can motivate you to improve and increase your movement and exercise.

Track your activities

The simplest metric that almost all fitness trackers monitor is the number of steps taken each day. Like a simple pedometer, the tracker counts how many steps you take each day. The general rule for maintaining healthy behavior is 10,000 steps a day.

Steps can be a useful metric, but they are not the only ones to follow. A growing number of fitness trackers also offer heart rate monitoring - none of which require a chest strap. They are usually worn on the wrist, and light is shone through sensors on blood vessels in the wrist to detect changes in blood flow with each beat of the heart, explains doctor Sanjay Gupta at Oprah.com.

The Harvard Health Newsletter states that aerobic exercise can improve your endurance and your heart health and should be performed at 60 to 80 percent of your maximum heart rate. Subtract your age from 220 to determine your maximum ratio.

Some trackers will also monitor your sleep and let you know how restless you are at night. These trackers often overestimate the amount and quality of sleep you get, but the gauges are helpful, says Gutta. You can still track improvements or link poor sleep to a specific factor in your life.

Make the most of it.

The benefits of fitness trackers only become apparent when you use them. Choose one that suits your habits. If you can't remember to charge it every few days, look for models with durable batteries. Or if taking it off for a shower means you might forget to put it back on, consider a waterproof version.

 

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Once you choose the model that works for you, you still need to use it to track data and improve your behavior. The Mayo Clinic recommends determining your baseline and observing your current activity level. Set achievable goals. If you start out walking 2,000 steps a day, try walking an additional 1,000 steps a day for two weeks. When you achieve this short-term goal, set a new one. You should also set long-term goals. For example, maybe your long-term goal is to walk 10,000 steps a day, or 5 miles five days a week.

Whatever your goal, always talk to your doctor before starting any new exercise or fitness program.