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Is a fitness tracker right for you?

Activity tracker, smart watch, fitness tracker, whatever you want to call them - these devices have taken the world by storm in recent years. Studies have shown a positive correlation between activity tracking and weight loss.

The World Health Organization recommends getting a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity (think walking, jogging, swimming, mowing the lawn) every week for adults. One study done in Norway showed that only 30% of women and 22% of men actually reach the recommended weekly amount of physical activity.

Enter, activity trackers. These devices provide real-time health interventions such as reminding people to stand up, move around, track steps and calories burned during a workout. It’s been shown that people who track their activity frequently are more likely to lose and maintain weight loss compared to those who don’t.

One great thing about activity trackers is most of them connect to your smartphone so you can see your day to day progress in real time. You can see if you need to move more or aim to stand up more.

If you’re in the market for an activity or fitness tracker, here are a few things to remember:

  • Do your research: different fitness trackers are marketed and programmed to do different things. For example, if you’re a swimmer and need a waterproof fitness tracker you might want to check out Moov Now. If you’re a runner and need a tracker that can monitor things like your Vo2 Max or your body’s response to different stressors, Garmin vivosport might be the device for you.

  • Use your activity tracker as a guide. Your fitness tracker is a tool you should be interacting with and using every day to be more physically active and ultimately reach your goals.

  • Set your own personal goals and use the fitness tracker as a motivator and accountability buddy.

  • Monitor your progress weekly. Most fitness trackers can sync to your smart phone through apps which can show you your weekly calories burned, steps, etc. Utilize that to make any adjustments needed to reach your goals.

  • Track what you eat too. A recent study from Duke University found that people who record their weight and food intake lost about 6 more pounds on average than those who didn’t track both weight and food intake. Many activity trackers such as the Fitbit sync with MyFitnessPal to allow you to track both your activity and dietary intake at the same time.

Bringing attention to your daily activity and food intake may be just what you need to jumpstart and maintain your weight loss.

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