At the start of the year, the Fitbit device became the latest, must-have gadget, designed to support folk in reaching their fitness goals. Similarly, Apple’s wearable creation – the iWatch – is now a sought after purchase. This nifty little accessory does more than allow you to read your WhatsApp messages directly from your wrist; one of its features enables you to monitor certain aspects of your health and well-being.
Some health experts claim that using a Fitbit (or other fitness trackers) may help to improve/maintain fitness levels, and boost fat loss. Below, I’m going to explore the key points to this theory, so you can make the most of your device, or indeed – invest in one (if wanted)!
10,000 easy steps to weight loss!
If the title confused you somewhat (were you expecting an exhaustive list, a mile long?), please allow me to explain. :)
According to research that’s backed by the government and health organisations, 10,000 steps is what we should be aiming for each day, in order to boost overall fitness levels, and stay slim. This is where a Fitbit is likely preferable to other techy options – because it’s designed specifically for this purpose. It has other mechanisms, such as recording heart rate, sleep patterns, and other metrics, but the daily steps count is thought to be one of its most useful applications.
Now, if you train regularly, you might be thinking, ‘I don’t need to clock up 10,000 steps – I go to the gym five times a week!’ Certainly, this will give you a huge advantage over those who are sedentary… but what if you veer more towards the latter group, and need encouragement to get up and exercise?
A motivational, helping-hand
If put to proper use and worn consistently (day and night, if possible) the Fitbit can help you to gauge your current activity levels, so you can set yourself new goals. I think essentially, it can offer a sense of personal achievement when you complete your quota for the day; equally, if you fall short, you’re probably more likely to push yourself to go for a run, or factor in a gym session. This can help you to strive for a better lifestyle – one which is conductive to your goals.
Slotting activity into your daily routine means you have a fall-back option, for days when structured exercise isn’t possible. Maybe you have an injury; your body combat class is cancelled, or you’re working overtime. Because of this positive mental attitude (PMA), you’re apt to be more organised in other areas. For example, being prepared by keeping a meal replacement sachet in your desk draw at work, or substituting your usual bowl of cereal for a diet protein shake, smoothie or bar. You remove yourself from the ‘all or nothing’ mentality. Even if you don’t manage 10,000 steps, you’re still making a difference by trying.
I think it provides a practical, (albeit) slightly geeky stance to your fitness; you can even involve family, friends, work colleagues or your significant other! A healthy bit of competition that’s the result of collective efforts can help you to stay one step ahead (or 10,000) of your game! I would compare this to the mentality that a slimming club offers, perhaps.
The small print
Bear in mind, a fitness tracker cannot do the work for you. Those 10,000 steps are not going to cause body fat to magically melt away; what it can do is enhance your existing exercise habits and encourage you to persevere with them. It won’t gloss over less than ideal eating patterns, but it will help to lay the foundations for new ones. Think about it: if you’ve completed 10,000 steps, you’ll feel less tempted to order a stodgy takeaway (not wanting to undo your hard work), and more inclined to rustle up something healthy. A protein shake mid-afternoon will become much more appealing than a donut, for example.
Generally, I’m of the opinion that a fitness tracker can be a superb tool, but It’s important to remember that in order to gain anything from its use, you need to be disciplined. Results can vary between individuals, but for most, tracking your steps can help to increase awareness of where you’re currently at – and where want to be.
So, take a challenge – see how many steps you can squeeze in to your day!