Are you one of the 22 percent of Americans who buy holiday gifts for themselves? If so, this year give yourself the gift of good physical health. A gym membership or workout clothes are good ideas, but if you want something truly special consider a fitness tracker. These sleek devices have a wide range of functions and can help you achieve a healthier lifestyle in the new year.
What is a Fitness Tracker?
According to the Wareable website, fitness trackers are computerized devices you wear on your body that tracks and records movement. The trackers convert that data into steps and activity, giving you an idea of how much exercise you completed in a day. Most trackers come in the form of watches or bracelets, but you can also find fitness tracker necklaces and rings as well. Prices also vary. You can find a very basic fitness tracker that costs $50, or you can spend $300+ and get one with all the bells and whistles.
4 Ways a Fitness Tracker Can Improve Your Workout
Not only do fitness trackers keep track of your workout, they can even improve it. Many of even the modest priced trackers have some impressive special features that can give your workout a boost. Listed below are just a few examples.
Personal Fitness Coaching
A fitness tracker can also be your personal, digital fitness coach. Some of the higher end, watch-like trackers, like the Fitbit Versa, have on-screen workouts that you can watch as you exercise. You can get coaching videos on everything from weightlifting to running. You can even select the length of your workout sessions. You can use these tools to improve your form and really feel the burn.
Fitness trackers like the Fitbit Ionic have special HRV monitoring that can help keep track of your heart rate and your breathing. This will help you be more mindful of your breath during exercises, especially yoga and Pilates. Some smart watches with fitness tracker capabilities, like the Apple Watch series, have mindful breathing apps. You can use these apps to complete guided breathing exercises after your workout.
A Good Night’s Sleep
You’re never going to get up and exercise before work if you don’t get enough sleep. Fortunately, a lot of fitness trackers nowadays also keep track of your sleep. For instance, the Oura ring (a fitness tracker you wear on your finger) records your total sleep time, any disturbances you had in the night, your REM sleep, and other factors. With this data the device creates an Oura Sleep Score for you. You can use this information to fine-tune your sleep schedule so you’re well rested and ready to exercise.
A mice study from Ohio State University found that when certain animals exercise together they lose more weight. And the researchers believe that the same “socially active” principal could apply to humans.
With different schedules and responsibilities, people aren’t often able to exercise with their family and friends, but fitness trackers can still help exercise feel like a social activity. Some fitness trackers have apps that you can download to your smartphone or tablets. These apps will keep track of your exercises and allow you to motivate friends and family members. You can send your friend a “step challenge” to see who can walk the most steps in one day. Or you can share your daily exercise accomplishments with your loved ones. This will help your workouts feel more “socially active” even if your family lives miles away.