Lately the news and social media have been circulating articles about how people who wear step counters don’t lose as much weight as thosewho do wear them. Well, I am not buying into the hype that they are therefore a bad way to track. I think we need to look at a few other factors. If you have had your tracker for a while, has it lost it’s new-ness? Maybe you don’t need to ditch your tracker, you might need to join a new step challenge. Some people feel that when they hit 10,000 steps they have “earned” some kind of treat or reward for the day. We were told that 10,000 steps a day would help make our heart healthy, not that we can overindulge in sugar and salt and fat for hitting the mark. What is your daily step goal? If you are short, does it make you jump outta bed to hit your goal? Are you more conscious the next day to not sit so long at your desk? Do you utilize the inactive timer to remind yourself to go for a walk to the water cooler?
Full disclosure, I am a huge fan of the Polar USA products. I have been wearing them for almost 10 years now. In all fairness, I have never tried a different brand, so I really can’t compare. I started with a FT 60 HR monitor that had the different HR zones, set activity goals, and had a chest strap. I then upgraded to a more tech based watch that synced to the computer and allowed you to upload work out timers based on HR. It was more than I needed, so I actually went back to the old one. Then last year I got on the step and sleep tracker band wagon, and bought a Loop. It used a blue tooth chest strap transmitter to send information to my app on steps, sleep, activity, and work out heart rate. I joined groups on the web page and would run step challenges in my private page. Last June, I started running, and I have decided to use the technology available to make me a better runner. I just bought the M400 last month and I am in love. I still have the step and sleep tracking. My activity goal is still separate from my steps. My heart rate is again shown in different zones. And now my GPS enabled watch allows me to track my pace, cadence, and routes.
If you like the competition aspect, thrive on the accountability of others, then get yourself a fitness tracker/wearable device. Join groups, post on social media, and follow other fitness tracker enthusiasts. If you are more of a self motivator, try to beat yourself, set daily or weekly goals on your average steps and minutes standing. One of my personal goals is to try and stand/walk more than I sit within a given day. Totally not doable every day, but I get really encouraged on days I reach my goal. I am also going for 2016 miles taken in 2016. I am using all of my steps within a given day, not just exercise. I am on track to finish by sometime in November. Rather than slow down, I found a friend that needs help meeting her goal. She was going to count only exercise, and split with a couple teammates. When her teammates never signed up, she decided to use all of her steps, but her stroller pushing doesn’t count as steps. She was getting discouraged with getting everything in by December 31st. So, I have offered her my extra miles, to make up for her stroller miles. And to not just “give” her miles, we are working together. It will help make sure I don’t slack off when I reach my goal. And it is going to push her to not need “too many” of my miles.
The goal of the tracker should be to make sure you get movement into your day. And to make sure that you periodically move throughout the day. If you have a desk job, I strongly recommend reading Deskbound by Dr Kelly Starrett.
One of my favorite quotes of all time “Do not reward yourself with food, you are not a dog.” So, when you hit your step milestone, remember you are making your heart healthier, not dropping pounds on a scale. Just as buying a new pair of running sneakers won’t make you a faster runner, wearing an activity tracker won’t improve your daily movement. You must put the work in to get the results.
Notice this chart does not include dropping weight, or inches. It is subtitled that you will improve your overall health. Remember, the goal is not a finish line moment with a certain number on the scale. The goal is living, happy and healthy, because you have reached certain benchmarks. The clothing size on your clothes is just a bonus side effect of everything being healthy within your body.
If you let your tracker get old and stale, how are you going to revitalize your use of it? If you currently use fitness wearable technology, what do you have and why do you like it? Be sure to drop your comments below so I can hear from you!