Keeping track of your movement with technology
Recently, sales of exercise gear and technology-based fitness tools have risen sharply as people try to maintain their workout regimens without going to crowded gyms. If you’re looking for ways to replace a pre-COVID-19 exercise routine, one of these tech-enabled items, like a fitness tracker, may work for you.
What’s all the fuss about?
A fitness tracker is a hi-tech device that measures your movements and motions with the help of integrated sensors. It sits quietly on your wrist: counting up your steps, tracking your sleep, monitoring your heart rate and calculating the difference between a light jog and a mad sprint. It is a type of wearable computer, if you will.
Fitness trackers have gained immense popularity. These wearable technologies could help you lead a fitter and healthier life, as they easily track your fitness level.
How it works
Fitness trackers measure motion: most of today’s wearables come with a 3-axis accelerometer to track movement in every direction, and some even come with a gyroscope too to measure orientation and rotation. The data collected is then converted into steps and activity, and from there, into calories and sleep quality, though there is some guesswork involved along the way…
All of this information is collected and crunched to create an overall reading. The more sensors your tracker has, the more accurate its data. These sensors measure the acceleration, frequency, duration, intensity and patterns of your movement. Taken together it can help a tracker work out if you’re walking down the road or just waving at someone you know.
Benefits of a fitness tracker
Almost all fitness trackers integrate with third-party apps, where you can post your workout sessions or challenge a friend to hold yourself accountable for your fitness regime.
- Daily motivation
A fitness tracker provides you with visual progress. You get to see how many steps you’ve taken, how many calories you’ve burned and so on. All these numbers alone are quite a motivation for many!
- Eating healthy
A tracker will let you log your food intake, as well as your water intake.
- Setting fitness goals
There’s nothing more motivating than setting your own fitness goals and working daily towards achieving it.
- Track your sleep
Such information will help you make better choices before going to bed and improve your sleeping patterns over time.
- Monitor heart rate
A fitness tracker can monitor your heart rate by measuring your pulse. The wearer gets to know the right intensity to perform exercise and when not to overdo it.
Disadvantages of a fitness tracker
Some fitness trackers do not provide 100% accurate metrics – such as the steps taken. This is why you cannot fully rely on these devices if counting steps is your topmost priority. The same applies to the calorie-counting aspect of it.
Some users of fitness activity trackers have reported that they start to become almost obsessed with beating their last round of stats, to the point of not focusing on the scenery surrounding them during a bike ride or a run.
What do the experts say?
“Fitness trackers are a great tool for heart health,” says Johns Hopkins University cardiologist Dr Seth Martin. “Being more active and changing your habits is important, but it can be difficult. Tracking likely helps a lot of people when combined with a clear goal to shoot for.”
Having an objective daily record can open people’s eyes to how little exercise they’re getting, Martin says, which can recalibrate their mindset and become an incentive. People find ways to incorporate more activity into their day, whether it’s dedicated walking, walking during meetings or personal calls, or simply taking the stairs instead of an elevator.
Physical activity is good for you in so many ways – including lowering the risk of developing multiple forms of cancer, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Importantly, physical activity is also positively linked to immune system function and mental health, which are paramount concerns during a pandemic like COVID-19.
Disclaimer: All content on the The Local Choice Pharmacy is created and published online for informational purposes only. It is not intended to serve as a substitute for professional medical advice and should not be relied on as health advice.
Always seek the guidance of your doctor or other qualified health professional should you have any questions regarding a medical condition or your overall health.