What’s the deal with fitness trackers these days? The market is saturated with fitness trackers, such as devices built specifically for purposes such as Garmin and Fitbit to those which are more like smartwatches that have been adapted to meet the trend like the Apple Watches 4. This is great for a fitness ambassador.
Behind the hype, attractive interfaces, and ever-increasing functions, what are the real reasons for using them, and how can they help you to improve your health at fitness?
From fitness fanatics through to office workers, we are going to explore some of the main reasons both physically and psychologically why a fitness tracker has its place.
Keeping Track of Your Daily Exercise
If you work in an office, your day will most likely start with a commute, you end up at a desk and then finish work with a commute back home. If you don’t leave near to the station or your car park then you are likely to get in a few steps walking during the commute, but once in the office, the most you will be walking is probably to the coffee machine and back.
A great reason for using a fitness tracker is to be able to keep track of how much exercise you are getting throughout the day. With 81% of office workers spending 4–9 hours sitting down, it’s all too easy to finish the day feeling you have been productive but missed the fact that you may have taken just 3,000–4,000 steps. That’s a fair mark off the recommended 10,000 steps a day.
Setting Realistic Goals
So often we will set a fitness goal and then give up. In fact, a study has shown that up to as many as 73% of people will give up on their New Year’s Fitness Resolutions. A huge problem can be because we set the bar too high when we decide to get fit and give ourselves unachievable goals that end up demotivating us. Without being able to track our activity we can have distorted perceptions of not just how many steps we take a day but also how many calories we burn.
The fact is that most fitness trackers will track not only your steps but also the calories that you burn both at rest and during exercise. This is a strong reason for using a fitness tracker. They enable you to have a clear idea of where you are starting from, a baseline based on facts and not assumptions, which will help you to set realistic goals within realistic time frames.
Tracking Your Progress
Another main reason for using a fitness tracker is that it gives you the possibility of managing your progress. Whether that is in terms of steps taken per day, calories burnt, or distance run. Fitness trackers will track your rate of recovery after exercise which you can compare over time and monitor as you get fitter.
Many of the fitness trackers also have corresponding applications or can be linked to third-party applications, so you can download your data and then review it clearly over the following days, weeks, months, and even years.
Having a fitness tracker within eyesight on your wrist is a constant reminder of the reasons why you are wearing it – to keep fit. A bit like having Jiminy Cricket sit with you, gently nudging you in the right direction every time you are being to falter.
You can choose your home screen on the majority of fitness trackers as well – which when glancing at the data can stir that innate sense of rivalry inbuilt within us humans, not just with others but also with ourselves. Deciding to walk the long way home, jog for an extra 5 minutes or run up and down the stairs just to beat your total number of steps taken from the day before is great motivation.
And if just seeing the fitness tracker isn’t a reminder enough – there are some brands like Fitbit that will actually vibrate if you have been sedentary for an extended period of time during the day. Enabling you not only to track your progress throughout the day but actively giving you the motivation to get up and move.
Earn Free Stuff
If you link up your fitness tracker to certain websites, apps, and even some health insurance companies, you will be able to earn points towards rewards based on your activity to spend on coffees, flights, and other treats. The more steps you take, the food you track, and the data you feed them, the more points you earn. Some companies even offer cash rewards!
If there was ever a good reason aside from health to be using a fitness tracker – free stuff would be it!
Convenience for Runners
I don’t know if you remember the days when you used to painstakingly draw out your route on some running website, or even google maps if you were going on the road, to figure out how far you had run.
Not only are you able to track distance but also speed, and with features such as lap-counters, lap splits, countdown timers and training logs, everything thing you need for a training session is literally on your wrist.
Fitness trackers have been around on the commercial market since Fitbit launched its first wearable in 2009. Since then the number of companies offering fitness trackers has exponentially increased, and so have their designs. From smaller more delicate wrist bands through to larger interfaces with the option to change the straps that make them appropriate for the corporate world and not just the gym. I have a Fitbit Versa with a number of custom Fitbit Versa bands so I can change up the appearance of my tracker whenever I want.
But the buck doesn’t just stop with watches, most recently Motiv has released a ring that can track sleep, heart rate, and activity, enabling your health to be quite literally at your fingertips. On top of this Google has long been talking about its research into contact lens technology. So if watches and rings aren’t for you – watch this space!
In this article, we have explored a few reasons for using a fitness tracker – from enabling you to understand your current fitness levels to the ability to track progress and get motivated. You could actually end up financially better off too. Deals from websites, apps, and health companies show how valuable your data is, not just to you, but also to others. Being a fitness ambassador helps keep you healthy!
The future for fitness trackers looks bright – and over the next few years, we will certainly see a vast number of innovations not just in style but also in increased functionalities.