It’s never too late to get back on your fitness goals! If you have a fitness tracker or Apple Watch, you probably know it can track your steps, but do you know about everything else you can do? Your fitness tracker is likely a lot more powerful than you think is. Once you figure that out, it takes more than just seeing how many steps you took that day to begin embracing a healthier lifestyle. The first step is learning what your tracker can do, then you can learn how to make goals that support you. If you don’t have a fitness tracker yet, make sure you know what you want to use it for before you purchase one. If you want to track swimming, make sure its waterproof. If you’re training for a marathon and want maximum running-tracking capabilities, look for one that can handle it. There are dozens of models out there, so do some digging to find the right one for you.
First, these are four things you maybe didn’t know your tracker could do:
Heart rate. Most bands will monitor your heart rate while you sleep and then tell you resting heart rate (RHR). Resting heart rate is a good measurement of fitness and heart health. RHR should be between 60 and 100.
Super accurate step measurement. It measures your steps more accurately than a pedometer, because it uses GPS to determine your stride length. And if you think it’s not measuring it right, you an adjust your stride length in the settings.
Set alarms for reminders, like drink more water or take the stairs. It’s the perfect tool to help you stick to a normal and healthy routine, particularly if you’re sitting in class all day
Properly schedule your sleep. If you wear your band at night, it will be able to track when you fall asleep and when you wake up. Considering you’re supposed to get 7-9 hours’ sleep, you can see if you’re maintaining an appropriate schedule. If not you can set a wake up alarm for when you have to get up, and a ‘bedtime’ target – so you get a proper amount of sleep.
Now that you’re educated on your tracker’s abilities, it’s time to get the most out of it.
- Set targets and build upon them.
See how much of your activity of choice you did over one day or one session, then aim to beat it the next day. Make sure you’re setting gradual goals, rather than unrealistic ones, which can be even more de-motivating than having no targets at all.
- Get competitive
Either your tracker’s app will have a community built in, or you can download third party apps like “MapMyRun,” to see leader boards of people around you. Follow friends and comment on each other’s activity, or let the app pit you against fellow steppers of a similar athletic ability. It can be a great motivator to keep up your fitness goals.
- Reward yourself
Acknowledge the hard work you put in and come up with a rewarding gift. It could be a new book or clothes, a trip to a restaurant you’ve been eyeing, or even a mini-vacation! It’s easier to work toward your goals when there’s a prize at the end.