The latest trend in fitness are devices called “activity trackers,” sometimes known as wearable trackers, wearable technology, or fashion electronics. Whatever you call them, these nifty devices are helping people get – and stay – fit.
Activity trackers monitor and track fitness-related parameters such as distance walked or run, and food and liquid consumption. In some cases, they also monitor your heartbeat and quality of sleep. Activity trackers are worn on your wrist – they look very much like a plastic or rubber bracelet.
The really neat thing about activity trackers is that – in this age of technology – they are designed to synchronize with your computer, tablet or smartphone. The data that they capture is stored on your electronic device, so you can track long-term trends. There are also all kinds of smartphone apps that you can use to help gather and analyze the data you collect. And the results can be shared on social media as well – so you can boast to your friends on Facebook or Twitter regarding your progress!
You can buy an activity tracker at almost any electronics store. The prices range from approximately $60 up to about $200. And it looks like many people are getting on board with these new devices – according to a 2014 survey, one in 10 Americans over the age of 18 owns one!
So, why purchase an activity tracker? Here are some of their benefits:
Motivation. Remember how you felt when you earned a gold star in school for accomplishing something really difficult? Well, activity trackers provide you with a similar visual reward. The visual progress you see as you log your time moving – including seeing how many steps you take during the day – provides you with a great deal of motivation: if you’re on track with your goals, you’ll feel rewarded, and you might push yourself to do more; if you’re behind, the numbers just might give you the nudge you need to try a little harder.
Healthy eating. It’s well-known that a healthy lifestyle involves both regular activity and a healthy diet. Activity trackers feature a “fuel and hydration” log to help you keep track of the quantity and quality of your everyday intake. You can enter your food choices and water intake during the day, and then evaluate the quality of your diet to inspire you to make better choices, or keep making good choices!
Goal setting. Nothing is more helpful in achieving – and maintaining – weight loss than to have a concrete goal. One of the key features of fitness trackers is the ability to set goals. Whether your aim is to lose 10 pounds, or walk 5,000 steps every day, by tracking your exercise, food intake and sleep you are in complete control of your progress towards the goals you’ve set.
Heart health. Most activity trackers offer tracking of cardiovascular data, for example, heart rate. Knowing your heart rate – and how it changes during activity and at rest – can give you a sense of your fitness level and whether your exercise plan is improving your heart's ability to pump blood.
Tracking your sleep. The quality of your sleep affects everything from your metabolism and food cravings, to your energy levels and moods. Most activity trackers can monitor your sleep patterns, and show you not only how long you slept, but whether it was deep or light sleep throughout the night; they can also calculate how many times you’ve awakened over the course of the night.
Although the jury is still out with regard to the complete accuracy of activity trackers, they still offer a variety of benefits that can inspire you to incorporate healthy eating, physical activity and effective sleeping habits into your daily routines.