Not your dad’s pedometer
There’s no doubt that physical activity is good for you. According to the Mayo Clinic, the health benefits of regular exercise can improve your life by helping to control your weight, decreasing your risk of cardiovascular diseases, preventing or helping you manage a wide range of health problems like diabetes, depression, certain types of cancer and arthritis; improving your mood; boosting your energy; and promoting better sleep.1
One of the simplest ways to get more exercise is to walk, and one of the easiest ways to determine how much exercise you’re actually getting is to track your steps using a fitness tracker. A sedentary person might only reach 3000 steps a day moving around the house, and the generally accepted goal is to make it to 10,000 steps a day.
Things have changed since the early days of pedometers, which were simple devices that contained a mechanical switch used to detect steps. The first pedometer was created in 1780, but it took until 1965 for the first widely marketed pedometer to hit the streets.2 They have recently regained popularity thanks in part to new technology that allows pedometers, now commonly called fitness trackers, to be more accurate and to provide additional information beyond just the number of steps you’ve walked.
In fact, some fitness trackers can estimate the number of calories you’ve burned, the amount and quality of sleep you get each night, the number of flights of stairs you’ve climbed, and can even measure your heart rate. All this information is synched to your computer or devices, allowing you to study and analyze your fitness journey and make adjustments to help you reach your goals.
So what kind of fitness tracker is best for you? It all depends upon what you hope to achieve by regularly wearing a fitness tracker. An avid runner would probably want something with more functionality than someone who is simply interested in increasing their daily activity and monitoring their progress. A good place to start is by setting your health goals. Talk to your doctor and determine what it is you’re hoping to achieve by increasing your physical activity, then look for a tracker that will help you on your journey to better health.
According to Fitness Tracker Central, the five most popular fitness trackers in 2015 are:
- FitbitOne Wireless Activity Plus Sleep Tracker
- Fitbit Charge Wireless Activity Wristband
- Jawbone Up 24
- Misfit Shine Activity and Sleep Monitor
- Samsung Gear 2 Smartwatch
But of course, which one you choose depends upon your needs and your budget. If you want to keep better track of your health and measure the progress on your goals, opt for something simple and less expensive than the trackers with all the bells and whistles. Check out Fitness Tracker Central’s list of the best cheap fitness trackers.
Even if you forgo the new technology and simply end up digging out your dad’s old pedometer, you’ll benefit from the extra movement! Aim for a goal and start slowly by adding 500 steps each day, but don’t worry if you can’t make it all the way to 10K. The idea is to increase your activity level, and every little bit helps!
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