Fitness trackers are one of the most popular wellness trends. Along with a myriad of functions such as calorie-burning and sleep monitoring, trackers are most accurate when counting steps, according to a study performed by the American Council on Exercise, ACE. When you are trying to reach a daily walking goal, or other fitness goals such as weight loss, reduced blood pressure, improved cholesterol or stress relief, a fitness tracker or a pedometer can be an ideal investment.
Why Use Fitness Trackers?
Many fitness trackers are wearable around your wrist. Some fit into your pocket. A pedometer is a small, electronic device that fits into your waistband to record the number of steps you walk in a day. Guidelines, such as those from the American Heart Association, recommend a daily step accumulation of 10,000. This equals approximately 5 miles each day. Steps do add up, which you will discover when you use a tracker. All those extra trips up the stairs because you forgot something, or the steps you take walking around the grocery store, all become a part of your daily count. In other words, you do not have to jog five miles a day all at once. The goal with the 10,000 step recommendation is to stay active throughout the day. That is what a fitness tracker can do, says ACE- motivate you to stay in motion. According to ACE, those who wear fitness devices are between 30 and 40 percent more active than people who don’t.
Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines completely to get an accurate result. Some wearable trackers are best when worn on the forearm and not the wrist. And, if you change activities, such as from walking to cycling, you may need to move the device to your shoe which will track the movement of your foot as you pedal. Pedometers should be centered with your knee and worn on the hip so that they bounce up and down with each step- this is how pedometers count.
10,000 steps a day may seem overwhelming if you are new to exercise. This is where you use the device as a tool to monitor your improvement. Wear a tracker for one day and determine how many steps you take during your normal routine. Then, try to add 500 to 1,000 steps a day for a week or two. Once you are comfortable with that amount, boost your movement another 500 to 1,000 steps. This gradual increase will help you safely reach 10,000 steps in a day.
Any increase in activity will result in an increased number of calories burned, as long as you do not overeat, which helps you reach weight loss goals. Use it consistently and make it a part of your daily routine to put on your tracker first thing in the morning, or leave it on if you are also tracking your sleep patterns. Be creative and make an effort to get more steps in ways such as:
- Walking the dog
- Using stairs
- Doing laps in the office
- Marching in place during commercials
- Taking lunch breaks to walk
- Plan a family after-dinner walk
- Park away from the gym, or walk to the gym