How many steps did you get yesterday? For me, it was a busy day, and I hit almost 15,000! Trust me, though, that doesn’t happen everyday. I received an Apple watch for my birthday in January, and now I’m obsessed with tracking my steps. Have you started tracking your steps yet?
What are Fitness/ Activity Trackers?
These are typically wristband-like devices that help you keep track of how active you are. Because they’ve become so popular, there are a bunch of brands and models on the market. Each model has unique features, but most of them will do things like track your steps, calculate your heart rate, show how many calories you burned during exercise, and even monitor your sleep.
Why are Fitness/ Activity Trackers Good for Baby Boomers?
The most obvious answer is MOTIVATION! When you continually monitor your behavior and get constant feedback, it encourages you to move more. Need I say it….this leads to boomers N motion!
Besides the added encouragement to move, these devices can also help to predict possible changes in health, such as health decline associated with aging. Since you can use them to monitor heart rate and quality of sleep, they can give you data to share with your doctor if you notice a change in these areas.
What Should You Look for in a Fitness Tracker?
- Ease of use: This is so important. A fitness tracker should be straightforward and easy to use. It shouldn’t take reading a 10-page manual before you can understand how it works. Besides, who would do that anyway?
- Distance tracker: Any fitness tracker should be able to log your steps and distance over a workout. Higher-end fitness bands offer distance tracking over larger periods of times to assess your fitness progression.
- Calorie tracker: Most fitness bands will track the number of calories you burn to let you know the precise outcome of your workouts. Some fitness bands also have calorie intake and weight trackers. These allow you to record your food intake and weigh calories burned against calories eaten.
- Heart rate monitor: This allows you to gauge and control the intensity of your workout.
- Sleep tracking: This allows you to monitor the length and quality of your sleep. This option is great for anyone looking to improve general fitness and physical health.
- Display size: Bigger displays provide easy navigation through the different functions of your fitness band.
- Wireless technology: This feature allows you to quickly and easily connect your fitness band to your wireless devices through specialized apps.
- Water and sweat resistance: This is important for prolonging the life of your workout tracker.
- Adjustable band: Bands often have slats or another mechanism for adjusting comfortably to your wrist.
- Battery life: Some fitness bands are more energy-efficient than others and can be used for longer without having to charge up or replace the batteries.
How Many Steps Should You Get?
According to the National Institute on Aging, most inactive people get fewer than 5,000 steps per day, and some very inactive people get only 2,000 steps a day. Here are their recommendations on steps.
If you’re getting:
Fewer than 5,000 steps a day – Gradually try to add 3,000 to 4,000 more steps a day.
About 8,000 steps a day – You’re probably meeting the recommended activity target.
10,000 or more steps a day – You can be confident that you’re getting an adequate amount of endurance activity.
10,000 steps a day comfortably – Try for 15,000 steps a day, which would put you in the high-activity group.
Your Next Step
If you haven’t jumped on the bandwagon yet, you might be convinced that it’s time to start tracking your steps too. Like I mentioned before, there are a ton of options, so do your research. If you’re looking for a good place to start, though, I would start by checking out the Fitbit Charge 2. I know a lot of people who have and like this device. I even bought this model for my mom for Christmas, and she seems to love it.
If you’re already using a tracker, what do you use? I’d love to hear what’s working for YOU!
Stay happy, healthy, and N motion, AND REMEMBER…age is just a number!