How Fitness Trackers Can Make You Healthier
Walk Yourself Healthy Walking is a FREE form of exercise that helps to improve your health. In a recent study, participants were asked to walk 10,000 steps every day and were provided with dietary counseling once per month. The counseling sessions educated participants on making changes in eating behaviors, diversifying food intake and the components of a balanced diet. Participants were also given a low-calorie cookbook. After six months of walking 10,000 steps per day, the participants showed decreased body mass, hip circumference and fat mass. This study concluded that walking 10,000 steps per day can improve your anthropometric data, resting energy expenditure and anxiety. But how do you make sure you’re getting your 10,000 steps per day? Is a fitness tracker the best method?
How Fitness Trackers Help Fitness trackers can either be an app on your phone or a wearable device. Fitness trackers hold people accountable. It is easy to look at your phone or wearable device and see how many steps you are getting. If you are lagging behind on your step goal, a tracker may motivate you to get up and take a walk. Some trackers even vibrate in order to remind you to get up and move. One study showed that the intervention group who wore Fitbits for their sixteen-week trial increased their physical activity by 38 minutes per day. Along with tracking physical activity, some trackers monitor heart rate and sleep. These are both important for your overall health.
There are a few ways you can become more active and reach your step goal. First, consistently use your tracker every day. While most people should set a goal of reaching at least 10,000 steps per day, your doctor may suggest an individualized goal.
Find activities you enjoy. If you like going on walks with your friends or to a Zumba class, you will be more inclined to do those activities to meet your step goal. Finally, encourage your friends and family to get trackers for some healthy competition. See who can get the most steps in one week!
Bottom Line: Walking is an easy, free way to improve your physical and mental well-being. Aim to get 10,000 steps per day. Try a fitness tracker that monitors your fitness, steps, heart rate and sleep.
Written by: Emelie Buell, Wellness Workdays Dietetic Intern