If you’re like me, you probably thought that your fitness tracker was wonderful at first. Just looking at the smart little band on my wrist encouraged me to move around more. I found myself taking more walks over my lunch break just so that I could see my step count go up.
But after a month or so, the joy began to wear off. Overwhelmed by the amount of data available to me (hours of sleep, number of steps, calories burned, active minutes), I felt trapped by my tracker and abandoned it in frustration. I had so much information, but I couldn’t make sense of it all.
If you feel equally intimidated, here are some ways you can use fitness tracker data to improve your health.
Thinking about buying a fitness tracker? Read our fitness tracker reviews.
Count Your Steps
The core focus of many fitness trackers is the number of steps you take per day. The more active you are, the more you get your heart rate up and the more calories you burn, ultimately improving your health.
Set a Goal
Most trackers have a default goal of 10,000 steps a day, which roughly equates to five miles. Adjust this goal to meet your needs and according to your fitness level.
Work Toward It
Try taking walks before or after work, take the stairs whenever possible and park your car at the end of the lot. Do an extra lap around the grocery store when you’re shopping, or have a footrace with your kids after dinner. Instead of emailing a co-worker, walk across the office and deliver the message in person.
Most trackers have a social sharing component available through their own app or a platform such as MapMyFitness. Connect with your friends, set group challenges and benefit from having a team of accountability partners to keep you motivated.
If you’re a BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee member, set goals and stay motivated by syncing your fitness devices and apps to our wellness portal. Log in to BlueAccess, our online member portal, to find out more.
Get More Rest
Adults need seven to eight hours of sleep per night and poor sleep can lead to health issues. Many fitness trackers have the ability to monitor your sleep patterns so that you can make sure you get a good night’s rest.
Set a Goal
Try to get seven to eight hours of sleep per night, with five to six full cycles of deep sleep. Your body needs deep sleep to restore itself after a long day.
Work Toward It
If you’re having trouble finding the time to get to bed early, ask your family members or roommates to make it a little easier for you. If everyone in the house goes to bed earlier, you’ll have a much easier time hitting the hay at a reasonable hour. If getting quality sleep is an issue for you, try meditating, taking a bath or reading before bed to calm your mind. Don’t forget, your diet can affect your sleep, too.
Most fitness trackers have built-in alarms and reminders. Although the idea of setting an alarm to go to sleep (not to wake up) seems counterintuitive, give it a try. Once you experience the benefits of a good night’s rest, the refreshing feeling should be motivation enough to help you stay on track.
Do you use a fitness tracker? Let us know if it’s improved your health by leaving a comment below!
Reviews are not scientific and are the sole opinions of the reviewers, not an endorsement by BCBST of any specific app or device.