If you take a step without your fitness tracker … did it really happen?
Move over, Dick Tracy.
Our futuristic, high-tech watches aren’t quite like the hard-nosed sleuth’s in the comic strip that debuted in the 1930s. But, in some ways, they’re pretty close. We can receive and send texts through our smartphone-linked watches. We can check the weather. But we at Cellular Sales think Dick Tracy would have been surprised to see how modern wrist tech gets used most: for tracking exercise and health.
If you take a step without your wrist tracker … did you even move?
Tracking steps with a wrist accessory is mainstream now. Competitions with co-workers and Facebook friends, reminders to take the stairs instead of the elevator, parking further from the entry to Walmart … wrist trackers have nudged awareness of movement into our societal consciousness with one small step. (And another, and another …)
Fun Fact: Accelerometers, the same tech used to guide space flight, are what keep track of your movements.
Fun Fact, Part II: One of the biggest health problems faced by astronauts in space is osteoporosis. Living in the field of Earth’s gravity keeps stress on our bones, signaling our bodies to keep calcium in their matrix.
Do more with your fitness tracker!
Here at Cellular Sales, we’ve plunged a little deeper into our wearable trackers’ capabilities, to find out what else they can do! We discovered that you can get so much more health support out of your tech! Of course, each brand of fitness tracker has their own, proprietary capabilities. Here are a few of our favorite, built-in features on our wearable trackers:
- Use your tracker to monitor heart rate. This is a great way to learn about your resting physiology as well as your optimal exercise levels.
- Track your walking/running route through GPS. You can keep track of elevation changes through your wrist tracker, too.
- Take a mini-meditation session with breathing reminders through your wrist tracker.
- Speaking of breathing: your tracker can check how restful you are during sleep. It’s not a good way to diagnose something serious, like sleep apnea, but measuring how often you moved around during your beauty rest might clue you in to whether you need further medical investigation.
The Buddy System
Your tracker helps you with accountability. It’s your very own support group, with no judgement. If you want to widen your support circle, you can also connect with other exercisers through your tracker. Over and over again, research proves that more support=higher success in losing weight and reaching training goals! Isn’t that what all those step competitions are for, anyway?
Of course, if you’re just in it for the win, you can always cheat the system. Check out this article for ways to fool your tracker.
Hint: our favorite is strapping it to the electric drill.
Apps, synced with your tracker, can guide you through exercise routines. You can choose quick workouts to squeeze in between errands, or you can choose lengthy routines, synced with heartrate and other metrics for a more intense training session. Sync diet apps with your tracker, too: scan barcodes or input ingredients to estimate calories, protein, fats, etc. per meal. Here are a couple of apps that we like:
This is a great app to combine your exercise, diet and support community in one. Just input your basic stats (weight, age, height) and get customized plans, as well as encouragement toward meeting your goals.
Like the name suggests, this app is all about supporting you on your way to eating better and exercising more.
Tip: With some apps, you can even estimate how many calories you’ve “earned” through the day’s physical activity! Just don’t get too obsessive over the numbers; lots of other factors come into play (like hormones, or whether you’re fighting off the flu) with the amount of fuel your body needs. Keep in mind that all these numbers aren’t perfectly precise, although the technology is improving all the time.
Add a great playlist, and you’ve got a digital assistant that’s even more intense than a personal trainer!
Advancing medical science
You know all that physiological information your wrist accessory can track? Turns out, it’s useful for health professionals, too. For example, Fitbit is expanding its studies to benefit medical research. More than 200 studies have already been conducted using Fitbit data, helping medical doctors track everything from effective weight loss to activity levels in cancer patients.
Are they worth the hype?
There is a lot of debate on whether wearable trackers are worth all the hype. Mostly, experts agree that taking all the numbers and measurements from your trackers as precise gospel is the wrong approach. Being more aware of your stats and, more importantly, being conscious of your daily health choices is the biggest benefit from interacting with your fitness tech. After all, your wrist tracker can’t make you healthy. YOU have to do that, with a balance of healthy diet, exercise and stress reduction. The most effective way to approach wearable trackers? As a fantastically sophisticated assistant, cheering you on and giving you the data you need to make healthier decisions.