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  • Writer's pictureDylan

Fitness Trackers 101

Fitness trackers come in many shapes, sizes, and come stacked with a number of features to help you stay healthy and happy. Do they really help? Hopefully this article will not only give you insight as to what a fitness tracker does and how it helps, but also helps find one that best fits YOU, should you be in the market for one.

What are the benefits of using a fitness tracker?

  1. Track Steps - One of the most common fitness goals, tracking your steps. Many of us have heard the recommended 10,000 step count, but few of us actually hit it. With many of our jobs now being stationary, we often have to make a conscious effort to hit that step count throughout the day. Almost every tracker on the market will have this capability.

  2. Track Workouts - Each tracker has their own way of tracking workouts. For example, the Apple Watch has different types of workouts (Traditional Strength Training, Biking, Swimming, etc.) and will track metrics like your heart rate, time of workout, and calories burned. Be sure you know what you're looking to track so you know what to look for during your search for a tracker of your own.

  3. Daily Motivation - Get notifications straight to your wrist or smart phone for a daily boost of positivity or motivation to keep you going on the days you just aren't feeling it.

  4. Accountability - Even if you only have yourself to count on, your watch can help. Get reminders for exercise, drinking water, or just standing up throughout the day to keep you on track. You can also share your progress with friends and keep each other accountable.

  5. Set and Manage Goals - Set goals in the tracker's app and manage them as you go. Not only does this give you a convenient place to see it, but can also help keep you on track with your goals.

  6. Heart Rate Monitor - Get warnings when your tracker detects something wrong with your heart rate, get updates throughout your workout, or just keep track of your heart health for your next doctor's visit.

  7. Sleep Tracker - The Mayo Clinic recommends 7-8 hours of sleep each night, and many trackers have built-in sleep sensors to help you better understand your sleep. Those much needed Z's can also help boost your metabolism, increase energy levels, lift your mood, and more!

Picking a Tracker

With so many different options, it can be hard to figure out what is best for YOU. Here are a couple tips to help you narrow down this large field to just a couple choices that can best fit you and your goals.

Know Your Goals

Knowing what you're trying to accomplish is half the battle. Once you have established your goals, you'll know what you need to track to reach them, which then opens the door to an array of options.

Know What You Want

Many trackers do more than just just track workouts and heart rate. With many trackers being featured inside a larger smart watch, you can also get messages, see the weather, check sport scores, monitor your heart rate, contact emergency services, and much, much more. Determine what all you want and that will help you narrow down your top choices.

Know Your Budget

Trackers can get pricey and can range from just under $50 to well over $300. Know your budget going in to avoid over-spending, especially if this is your first tracker.

Do Your Research

Like we've said, there's LOTS of options out there. Having the first three tips here locked down will help you refine your search. Do the research and you'll have no problem finding a tracker that best fits your goals, your style, and your budget.

There are hundreds of trackers on the market. Here are a couple articles we found to help you find some of the best!

WIRED: The 14 Best Fitness Trackers and Watches for Everyone

The 15 Best Fitness Trackers of 2021

Sticking With It:

We can go out and get a tracker, buy ourselves a new water bottle, new workout clothes, and hit the gym for a couple days. Unfortunately, you won't see drastic change in just a few days, and if you're not currently frequenting the gym or hitting your 10,000 steps every day, you're likely going to be nothing but sore for the first couple days.

The goal is to be consistent and stick with it. When you can be consistent is when you start seeing results. Here are some of our best tips to keep you going!

  1. Use It Consistently, like daily - Consistency is the key with just about everything, and your fitness is no different. Stick to using your new fitness tracker each day and actually checking in on your numbers. Don't beat yourself up if you have a bad day, or even a bad week. Pick yourself back up on Monday morning and get going.

  2. Set Goals & Make them VISIBLE - Setting goals is great, but studies show that if you can't see those goals consistently and repetitively, they will fizzle out. With your tracker likely being able to set goals or track them, keep up to date on them and make it as visible as possible.

  3. Find Activities You Enjoy - Whether it's steps, weight loss, muscle gain, or even just more water intake, find ways to make it enjoyable. If you're doing something you have no fun with, you'll have a much more difficult time reaching those goals.

  4. Be Accountable - Hold YOURSELF accountable or find an accountability buddy. With many trackers, you can share your progress, and with some, you can find others who have it and see each others daily progress and keep each other accountable.

Remember, this is a tracker, not a magic potion. Your fitness journey is still going to require effort on your end. It's not going to be the thing that changes your life, YOU ARE. This will just help you get there.

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