How to get the most out of your fitness tracker
- Wear your tracker: It may seem obvious, but it goes without saying: you’re not going to track much when you’re not actually wearing your tracker. The steps you take without it can’t always be counted. It’s that simple. Decide when your steps mean the most to you in a day and whether this affects your overall goals. You don’t have to wear your tracker 24/7, but every step counts.
- Set goals: On average, most people take about 5 000 steps a day. The default setting on most trackers is 10 000 steps. Set a small goal as your starting point, ensuring it is something attainable, and gradually build from there. The same strategy works well for tracking your sleeping hours, ensuring that you get enough on a daily basis to feel at your best.
- Food intake and calories: If weight loss is a primary goal, keeping tabs on what you put into your body is just as useful as how many calories you are burning off with activity. Many leading device brands have built in food tracking components. A third-party app such as MyFitnessPal are good additions to keep tabs on your food consumption and overall nutrition as it has a very reliable database, and syncs up nicely with many other apps too.
- Activity tracking: There is a distinct difference in the way you stroll around the park with the fur kids (dogs) or enjoy a Saturday morning hike. Not every step you take is equal. Many wearables will automatically pick up or log more strenuous steps taken, but it is still a good idea to take an active interest in recognising this for yourself. On some devices, you can use a stopwatch function to manually log this data. You can also use a third-party app that syncs well with your device. Good apps to use include Strava, Runkeeper and MapMyFitness. All offer an additional perk
of using a smartphone’s GPS for more accurate statistics on your performance.
- Workout with your friends: Scientific studies show that people are more likely to commit to an exercise regimen if they have the same level of commitment with friends. Generally, like-minded people are using a fitness tracker and many have built-in competitive elements on the device app to encourage healthy competition. You can initiate or challenge a group of individuals (the app recognises via your phone or social media contacts) to a competitive dual, ensuring that all who participate have to put in a little more time and energy to out-do another. A contest for step-glory can be fun (with some devices offering up little badges as rewards for your achievements) and can certainly help you up your own game too.