Is your fitness tracker starting to lose its lustre? Much like exercise equipment, using it is fun when it's all shiny and new with that fresh-out-of-the-box smell. But once the novelty wears off, it's important to incorporate your fitness tracker into the big picture lifestyle you're looking to create. Otherwise, like the exercise bikes of yore, it'll end up stuffed in storage collecting dust.
Here are 6 easy tricks to help you get the most from your fitness tracker:
1. Establish your baseline
Gauge where you are now so you can choose an effective course of action to reach your long-term goals. Wear your fitness tracker for three straight days and do your thang as you would naturally, then average out the results. For example, add the total number of steps you took and divide that number by three to get your average number of steps per day. Once you know your averages, you can then set short-term goals, such as adding 500 steps a day to your routine.
2. Set your own goals
Fitness trackers usually come with preset goals, but depending on your career and current level of activity they may be unrealistic to use as your starting point. As your fitness level increases, adjust your goals accordingly.
3. Wear on your non-dominant wrist
According to a study published in the journal Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, wrist trackers are more accurate than waist trackers at determining steps taken. It's also suggested you wear your fitness tracker on your non-dominant hand for a more accurate reading since it moves less. Check to see if your settings let you specify which wrist you're wearing it on.
4. Tag your activities
Some trackers let you tag specific activities you're participating in for a more accurate calorie burn reading, so whether you're going for a run or heading to spin class, make sure your fitness tracker is on the same page.
5. Sync with other apps
Sync your data with other health apps - like MyFitnessPal for food tracking - to gain an overall sense of your lifestyle and how everything fits together. It's easier to ditch the habits that are setting you back when you can see firsthand the domino effect they have on the rest of your goals.
6. Regularly assess your progress
Fitness trackers are great for streamlining data, but unless you take the time to analyze the data, what's the point? Taking that final step and asking yourself the big questions is crucial: How am I really doing? What opportunities did I miss to be more active and why? How can I improve for tomorrow? Next week? Next month?
How does your fitness tracker help you reach your health goals?
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Image: Fitness photo via Shutterstock