Today marks exactly one year since using my FitBit consistently – ie every single day (okay, except a couple of food poisoning bouts where I wasn’t going anywhere off my couch). This may not sound like much but for me is a big, big deal.
So as I reflect over my year with my FitBit, has it really made a difference to my activity levels and would it make a difference to yours?
The statistics on activity trackers are as varied as the number of these gadgets available out there. On one hand, there are many successful stories from people using these gadgets as well as studies where groups of people have managed to increase their weekly physical activity by using digital activity trackers.
On the other hand, there are grisly research results showing that a third of American consumers who buy wearable activity trackers stop using them within 6 months. So this begs the question of whether activity trackers help people exercise more or are these gadgets just a wasted investment that will end up gathering dust on the nightstand.
Well, it all depends on how you approach your activity-tracking gadget. With the right mindset, you’ll be able to turn your activity tracker into a useful workout tool for life.
Source of Motivation
Most activity trackers come with a function that allows you to set daily or even long-term goals. Taking advantage of this function can help you stay motivated and exercise more. For example, you can challenge yourself to take 100 steps every hour, put in a reminder to go for a run during your free time, enter a certain heart rate target for your workouts, and so on. Just make sure to always check off all your set goals even when away traveling.
Alternatively, you can dive headfirst into the increasingly popular feature of connecting to social media or joining a fitness community, which most fitness trackers come with. Having other people watch and comment on your progress or engaging in a little friendly competition with online peers can help increase your motivation.
An activity tracker is a bit like having a fitness buddy who instills accountability by monitoring your workout progress and keeping you on your toes. When you know your gadget is checking your activity levels and monitoring your progress, you will automatically want to work harder. And unlike a fitness buddy, an activity tracker will hold you accountable wherever you are.
As long as you’re wearing your activity tracker, it will continue to capture your physical activity and indicate when you are lazing around even during instances where you are traveling. Some models are even designed to get you moving more by vibrating whenever you stay idle for too long.
Activity trackers can record everything from the number of calories you take in and burn every day, to the number of steps you take daily, to your heart rate during rest, active, and sleep times. This information can be really eye opening in terms of helping you exercise more. For instance, knowing your resting heart rate can help you exercise at an effective intensity whereby your heart rate goes high enough to deliver results but not too high to strain your cardiovascular system.
To sum it up, the level of success you get from a fitness tracker comes down to how you use the device. If you simply strap it to your wrist and continue with your daily activities, you may not make much progress. However, if you interact with your activity tracker, you’ll find yourself exercising more and more.