Wearing a fitness tracker is one of the easiest ways to establish and maintain an active lifestyle. It’s habit-forming and once you get used to seeing your progress each day, you won’t want to stop. In addition to automatically logging your physical and biometric activity, it doubles as a motivational tool. Apple Watch is known for sending messages periodically reminding wearers to stand up and my Fitbit just congratulated me for taking 10,000 steps. These may seem like small, inconsequential features, but for those in need of a little push, it can make all the difference.
Fitness trackers also serve as links to communities of like-minded people. You can connect with friends, set goals together, celebrate milestones and even send encouraging words right from your wrist. Motivation can manifest itself in a bit of friendly competition too. I’ve actually seen my husband play catch up by jogging one more lap or pacing around our flat because a friend had closed more fitness rings than him. While you may not think of a fitness tracker as a means of improving your social life, they do allow you to be social and get physical from a distance, which is quite convenient in a post-pandemic world.
In addition to providing motivation and social engagement, these wearables are a visual call to action. For example, after seeing their father and me wearing fitness trackers, my young children asked for trackers of their own. Armed with Fitbit Ace 2 devices, they are now more in tune with their physical well being than ever before. They track steps, request more physical activities and get a kick out of literally running circles around mum and dad when the weekly tallies are done.
Perhaps the most important aspect of fitness trackers is that they can clue you in to potential health problems. The devices collect data and convert them into key metrics, such as general activity, step count, heart rate, calories burned, sleep time and so much more. Fitness trackers can monitor your heart rate by using LED technology to measure your pulse – no need for a chest strap. Sensors integrated into the tracker aim light toward blood vessels in your wrist to detect any changes in blood volume as your heart pumps blood. Any changes are detected by checking the amount of light reflected. A low amount of light indicates a high blood volume (pressure) and vice versa. Some fitness trackers can even detect common types of irregular heartbeats, alerting the wearer to potential health risks or over-exertion.
Finally, strapping on a fitness tracker can also keep you connected, as most of them tell you when you’ve got an incoming call, text message and email without you having to look at your smartphone. So, not only can you get social, hold yourself accountable, measure your sleep and track your health and fitness goals, you can also take multi-tasking to a whole new level with a fitness tracker. Some might argue that fitness trackers are an expensive endeavor but I say shop around. There’s a solution out there for every budget that’s well worth the investment.