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Track Your Way to Fitness

Fitness trackers are a great way to monitor your activity levels and stay accountable. But to do this, you must use them correctly.
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Nowadays, fitness tracking gadgets are everywhere. They are the accessory of the moment for the aspirationally active, snapped on wrists and dangling from belts everywhere, and even available on our smartphones. Most of them are actually quite good at tracking our activity levels — they have advanced from simple pedometers to gadgets that can track the number of steps climbed, calories burned and can even monitor our sleep patterns. But are you using your fitness tracker to make optimum progress in your fitness goals? Here are some useful tips:

Set Realistic Goals

The default step goal for most fitness trackers is 10,000 steps. However, on average, most people take only about 5,000 steps a day. Setting a smaller, more attainable goal – say, 7,000 steps – is a smarter way to start so that you don’t get demoralised. Once you’ve hit your stride, you can always step up your goals. This will help keep you motivated. Your goal should change with your fitness level.

This strategy also works well with getting more sleep. If you consistently don’t get eight hours of sleep a night, try at least to get seven hours and go from there.

Track Your Activity

Not all steps are equal. For example, you don’t use the same amount of energy walking to get a glass of water as when you are walking briskly. Calibrating your tracker to the length of your strides is important, as your walking and running strides are probably very different. Most trackers will determine your stride length based on your height and gender, so set these, too.

Note that some trackers may focus only on counting steps. Good trackers can tell the difference between counting your steps and tracking your activities, while others may require you to press a button to start/stop your activities. If you want to track things like calories burned or your heart rate, you may need a more sophisticated tracker.

While you can use the stopwatch function to record your data, why not get a third-party app that syncs with your tracker’s app? Some examples are Strava, which tracks your bike rides, and Runkeeper, which measures your runs; these can be linked to your smartphone’s GPS to record and breakdown even more of your performance data. If you are using your tracker for specific sports activities, you might want to consider a tracker specifically built for your sport.

Monitor Your Food Intake

If one of your main goals is losing weight, use your tracker to keep tabs on what you eat. This is as important as monitoring the calories you burn off. While your gadget might have its own tracking component, it’s better to use a third-party app like MyFitnessPal to track your food consumption. Not only does it sync well with most apps, but it also tends to have a more reliable database than most fitness trackers.

Work-Out With Friends

It’s easier to stick to an exercise regime if you do it with a friend. And if your like-minded friends use the same brand of tracker as you, you can take advantage of the competitive elements on the gadget. This way, you can set up friendly competitions and challenges and watch the benefits roll in.

Use Wrist Trackers on Your Non-Dominant Wrist

If you are using a wrist tracker, wear it on your non-dominant wrist because it moves less – and your feet aren’t necessarily moving when your wrist is. If your tracker can do so, adjust its setting to specify which wrist you are wearing it on.

By taking note of these points you will be able to make the most of your fitness gadget and keep yourself motivated to achieve the fitness levels you desire.

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