In our last article, we discussed the various types of data that fitness tracking devices collect and how this information can be understood by comparing results with average human metrics.
As promised, this week, we’re tackling the various ways you can put your fitness tracking devices to work for your body. Let’s dive in…
Clearing up Initial Misconceptions
Misconception #1: fitness trackers are only for walking and running.
While fitness tracking devices are very capable at monitoring running and walking, this is not the only skill these wearables possess. Many of today’s industry leading trackers are fairly adept at detecting other forms of activity, but more on that in a moment.
Misconception #2: fitness trackers are accurate.
While we’d like to believe everything our fitness tracking devices tell us, this unfortunately is not realistic. The average consumer tracking device can be off by up to 1,000 daily steps, whether that number is more or less than your actual results. The good news is that some devices, such as Fitbit’s line of products, Garmin’s wearables and the Apple Watch, can be calibrated to better understand your stride length. Upon checking your device’s official website for calibration instructions, you will most likely see improvements in your step and calorie accuracy once calibration has been complete.
Misconception #3: fitness trackers will help me lose weight.
Yes, and no. It all goes back to what we previously discussed about understanding your body: if you desire to lose weight, the number of calories you eat cannot exceed the numbers of calories you burn. While fitness tracking devices can help you monitor how much energy you expel each day, you will need to add a calorie tracking app – such as MyFitnessPal or Lose It! – to your daily regimen. Remember, your body keeps track of the calories you eat, even if your mind doesn’t, so make sure you log everything.
Five ways to keep your body healthy with fitness tracking devices
Okay, now we’re on to the good stuff.
1: Set (and beat) your goals.
Fitness trackers, although not medical-grade monitoring tools, are still great motivators. The makers of Fitbit, Jawbone and Garmin (just to name a few) offer free mobile applications that serve as your digital exercise diary, recording your activity with each passing moment. It is here where you establish various goals, such as how many steps you intend to take each day, how many calories you would like to burn and even how much sleep you hope to achieve every night. These goals can vary based on your body and needs. If you would like some help deciding which goals are right for you, click here.
2: Start putting “steps” on the board.
While most fitness tracking devices use steps as the primary metric of activity, there are many other ways to burn calories that don’t necessarily involve walking. Using an internal sensor known as an accelerometer, your fitness tracker is mostly just checking to see if your body is in motion. As long as you are moving, you are expelling calories and raising your heart rate. Such activities that may be recorded as active steps include walking/running, playing sports, dancing, yoga, weight lifting and even going for a swim (if your device is waterproof or water resistant; check your manufacturer’s website before diving into a pool of water with your tracker on).
3: Eat right.
There’s not much to be said here. The right fuel for your body will produce better results. The wrong fuel — not so much. While every body has different dietary needs, it’s generally wise to eat as cleanly as possible; doing so may even add valuable years to your life.
4: Get some rest.
Every person has different needs when it comes to sleep; some people can live on only 6 hours of rest per night while others need 9 hours. Nevertheless, adequate sleep is important to maintaining an active lifestyle. Not only does it give your muscles a moment to relax, a good night’s rest will also heal your mind and improve the way your body processes calories.
To see how much rest you get each night, simply wear your favorite fitness tracker to bed. Most trackers now come equipped with automatic sleep tracking capabilities; others require the user to tap a manual button to indicate when the user is intending to sleep (if you’re not sure if your device tracks sleep, refer to your manufacturer’s website). Then once you wake up, sync your fitness tracker with your phone to tell the device that you are finished sleeping; now is also a good time to review your night to see how well you rested and if any improvements can be made.
Setting goals, staying active, eating right and getting enough sleep are all great ways to maintain a healthy lifestyle; however, this way of life only benefits your body if you keep it up. Each day is a new opportunity to conquer yesterday’s goals. Each night is a chance to recharge better than the night before. In the eyes of your fitness tracker, every day starts over at 0; it’s up to you to push those numbers beyond their limits.
What if I don’t own a fitness tracker?
So, you like everything you’ve read up to this point, but you don’t own (or want to purchase) a fitness tracker. That’s okay! You can still have a healthier life! Many modern smartphones can track your daily steps and estimate your burned calories simply by keeping it on your body throughout the day. That’s right; your favorite mobile companion also happens to be a fitness tracking device.
Put your healthy lifestyle to good use.
Adopting a healthy lifestyle promotes a healthier you, which means that life insurance won’t cost you an arm and a leg, plus a vital organ. But don’t just believe what we’re saying; see it for yourself!
If you believe the steps listed above can help you live a healthier life, we recommend that you try the Mutual Fund Company’s #FitnessFiendChallenge. When you are ready to begin, start by getting your free life insurance quote here; this will help you understand your current health ranking among the life insurance market. Then, start living each day by enforcing the five steps discussed in this article. After six months have passed, have another life insurance quote conducted, and compare its results with your original quote; this will help you see how much your healthier lifestyle has impacted your available life insurance rates. Continue living by this program for another six months, and file for one last life insurance quote. You may be surprised by the results you’ve earned.
If your body is already in excellent shape, great! Congratulations on being in tune with your body’s needs. We also invite you to see how much you can save on life insurance with a free quote. Your options may be more affordable than you realize.