Maximize the benefits of your fitness tracker

Maximize the benefits of your fitness tracker

With over 1,000,000 Apple watches sold in the first day they were available and 19 million fitness devices used in 2014, wearable technology is becoming a must-have item for everyone from casual walkers to extreme athletes.

Once you’ve purchased a fitness tracker, how to do you maximize its benefits?

Set goals

Colleen Eggers, program coordinator at Good Samaritan Health and Wellness Center in Downers Grove, Ill., says the average person should take 10,000 steps every day, which is equivalent to about 5 miles. But, sometimes meeting that quota isn’t easy.

“Work your way up by setting smaller goals and eventually exceed those numbers,” says Eggers.

Use the buddy system

Eggers says people are more likely to be motivated if they have an extra push from a friend, and it can help keep you accountable.

“Choose a workout buddy who is going to motivate you and not convince you to change your mind about working out or eating healthy,” she says.

Set breaks for walks

Whether in the office or at home, set aside 5 to 10 minutes every two hours to take a walk. Set a timer on your phone, computer or tablet as a reminder to get up and count those steps.

Set up competitions

Use other people in your life also using the devices to set up some friendly competitions as a motivator.

With the Fitbit, Eggers says you can choose a variety of competitions, including a “daily showdown,” “workweek hustle” or “weekend warrior.”

“Its fun and a great motivational technique,” she says.

Find small challenges during the day

“You can take more steps each day by parking in the farthest spot, taking the stairs, going for a walk on your lunch break, or walking in the office to deliver news or papers instead of emailing,” Eggers says.

She suggests finding little ways in your regular routine to challenge yourself to take more steps and be active.

While some research has shown there are some discrepancies with fitness trackers, Eggers says that these devices are a great way to keep people on track with exercise, food logs and challenges.

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health enews Staff
health enews Staff

health enews staff is a group of experienced writers from our Advocate Health Care and Aurora Health Care sites, which also includes freelance or intern writers.