The fitness tracker and/or wearable tech is a $60 billion industry. I think it’s important to document that this trend — the ability to track calories, water, steps, etc. — is getting larger year by year. In 2016, studies show that wearable devices brought in $16 billion in revenue. It is estimated that by 2022, that number will have quadrupled.
Ways to Use Your Fitness Tracker
With this technology playing a larger role in our lives, I want to give some advice on how you can get the most out of your wearable fitness trackers without giving up too much control. These devices can be great for individuals with certain health conditions — various heart diseases or diabetes— but for the consumer who just wants more accountability in their fitness plans, there are many options out there.
1. Track your sleep
For years, we’ve heard that it’s vital for adults to get between seven to nine hours of sleep. This is the time your body restores and repairs itself. Using a fitness tracker to identify your sleeping patterns can help you come up with a sleeping plan. Are you routinely not meeting your sleeping needs? Should you attempt to go to bed earlier, or skip that afternoon espresso or Coca-Cola? Fitness trackers are like a sleep diary that gives you the data you need to make a plan.
2. Eat healthier
I cannot equate losing weight with getting healthier, but there is something to be said for eating better and losing weight en route to being healthier. Using a fitness tracker can help you track your food intake. Allowing you to report your daily calorie consumption and then scouring the data to identify trends, you can start to see what sort of foods are helping or harming your health and weight patterns. Only using counters to track calories is counter-intuitive. 400 calories in a Snickers bar is not the same as 400 calories in fresh blueberries. It’s essential to use the fitness tracker to input the data correctly and accurately.
3. Get motivated
Fitness trackers are to-do lists that you wear. Making a mental checklist is a good practice; maybe you can follow through with the lists in your head. On the other hand, if you’re like me, you need something more tangible. That’s where the fitness tracker comes in handy. By setting goals, the fitness tracker acts as a reminder to follow through. Set a goal to take a certain amount of steps per day and get reminders as you approach the total. Dictate how many ounces of water you want and let the tracker help you stay hydrated. Fitness trackers act like the angel on the shoulder, encouraging you to complete the goals you set for yourself.
4. Monitor your heart rate
Some fitness trackers offer the option to track your heart rate. This is an outstanding feature, especially for those who exercise regularly or participate in HIIT workouts. To see if you’re getting all you should be out of HIIT sessions, take 220 (the maximum heart rate) and subtract your age to find the target you should be at during the training. For example, if you’re 30, you want your heart rate at 190 to achieve maximum success. Similarly useful, in the interval between reps, your heart rate should drop off by 50-60%. In the example above, this means closer to 100 is ideal. Fitness trackers take the guesswork out of workouts and provide you with the data you need to get the most out of your training.
Final Tracks on the Fitness Tracker
There are dozens of fitness trackers on the market. Depending on your interests and planned uses, it’s hard to unequivocally say which one is right for you. Each body is different, and each user has individualized intentions and needs. Whichever tracker you choose, just be sure that you don’t confuse losing weight with getting healthy. Fitness trackers can help you stay motivated, identify trends and find important information regarding your health. These devices are not silver bullets to healthy bodies, but they are mechanisms that can help you achieve your intended goals.