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Step Up Your Health With an Activity Tracker

Activity trackers are nothing new.  They are just a pedometer with more bells and whistles.  Pedometers have been around for years and are often used in corporate wellness programs and at one point they were even given away in McDonald's Adult Happy Meals.  (Apparently that was a thing?)  At their very core, the purpose of activity trackers is still to track the number of steps you take in a day.  The default goal for most activity trackers is to reach 10,000 steps per day.  This is roughly 5 miles and roughly equivalent to the CDC's recommendation to get 150 minutes per week of moderate activity- and walking just so happens to fit into that category.  Fewer than half of U.S. adults get that recommended amount of activity, so it's time to step it up.

The most common activity trackers available include the Fitbit, Jawbone, Garmin Vivofit, and Nike Fuel band.  Most have more far more capabilities than just tracking number of steps.  Depending on the model, they may also track stairs climbed, quality and quantity of sleep, calories burned, heart rate, plus the ability to input food consumed and other exercise.  These devices are not 100% accurate, but are still a close representation.  Typically the number of steps is the most accurate measurement because most devices use a three way accelerometer to calculate the direction and intensity of your movements.  With so many capabilities, it can be easy to get caught up in the technology of the devices, but its main purpose is very simple: make you aware of your activity and to encourage you to move more.
Activity Tracker

I'm a bit of a simpleton, a tech-novice, a luddite, and for that reason I tend to avoid most forms of technology.  I find anything that tracks my workouts, heart rate, or food consumption to be tedious and distracting.  With that said, I am obsessed with my Fitbit.  Obsessed.  I check the Fitbit app on my phone approximately 50 times a day because I love to see the instant and effortless feedback, plus it motivates me to do more.  That is the best thing about an activity tracker.  It can turn mundane tasks into an opportunity to rack up more steps.

Simply increasing the amount of activity you do can have positive effects on your health.  Increasing to 10,000 steps per day has been shown to help lower blood pressure, lower glucose levels, and lower body mass index.  Multiple studies have shown that wearing an activity tracker and becoming aware of current activity levels will encourage the average person to take 26.9% more steps each day. 

In upcoming blog posts I will compare different activity trackers to help you decide what would be the best fit for you.  Ask around too, you probably have coworkers or friends that wear (and love!) an activity tracker, and I’m guessing they would love to show you their stats.