Armband Trackers: Why Use Them? - PIH Health

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Published on December 10, 2015

Armband Trackers: Why Use Them?

woman walking - armband trackers

Woman walking - Armband TrackersThe latest fitness trend involves the use of activity monitoring devices, or trackers, to record how much you move, eat, and more. Whether you wear one on the wrist or the upper arm, they can in fact be very helpful tools for improving your health.

“The reality is that we aren’t aware of how truly sedentary we are,” says Elisabeth Brown MD. “The newest tracking devices are so sophisticated and sensitive nowadays that they can monitor brain waves, heart beats, body temperature and even how much you sweat, in order to provide you with a good picture of how physically active you are, or are not. And knowing that is half the battle.” Fitness trackers can even track tiny movements while you sleep.

Getting Started

Before you jump into an exercise routine (always check with your doctor first), use the tracker to find out your baseline activity. Do what you normally do so that you understand how much physical activity you typically get. Then, set a reasonable goal. Ten thousand steps a day is a noteworthy objective, but you may need to start at a lower level and increase daily steps a little at a time.

Adding 200 to 300 steps a day can increase your week's total by 2,000, which is about a mile a week.

Feel the Burn – Kind of

You don’t need to take on a physically demanding workout in order to increase activity and burn calories. As always, start with a reasonable goal and keep in mind that the number of calories burned depends on your weight – a 125 lb. person burns about 240 calories an hour, while a 185 lb. person burns 356 calories an hour:

• Do 30-60 minutes of mild to moderate exercise a day

• Tidy up the yard – use a push mower and pull weeds or plant flowers for an hour

• Clean the house – vacuum, move furniture, mop the floors for 60-80 minutes

Track Those Zzzzzzs

Some trackers also monitor movement while you sleep. You may not be aware of how fitful your sleep is and if this the case, tracking it can help you develop a plan to improve it if necessary. If you do find you need more sleep, go to bed earlier in 15-minute increments until you feel you are waking up feeling rested and refreshed.

Make the Most of the Monitoring

Some devices let you set the goals and “score points” for reaching them. Notice how the changes in your activity levels and your eating habits make you feel and use those results to motivate and reinforce your good behavior. Most of all, have fun. Don’t view it as a chore, but as a challenge that brings with it healthy rewards. You can even make it a playful competition with friends and family. Compete for the most steps in a week, then, reward yourselves with a good belly laugh together.

The information in Healthy Living Online is for educational purposes only.  It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice.  The reader should always consult his or her healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation, or if they have any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment plan.

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