Anyone that knows me well will know I am rarely without my Apple Watch on my wrist (beach runs and formal functions alike!). My watch is my way of staying accountable by making sure I am moving as much as I would like to each day!
There are many ways of tracking your fitness progress, and in the past I have used them all – workout journals, notebook in the gym, calendars on my computer. But this is such an easy way to keep a general track of your activity, and it seems to really work.
The low down on trackers.
One in six consumers currently use wearable technology in their daily lives. For those of you that aren’t familiar with the Apple watch, it has an in-built activity tracker that counts steps, a heart rate monitor that reads off your wrist, and an app that allows you to track your workouts. This all adds up to a total daily steps and distance covered figure, and an active and resting calorie burn per day. It also encourages you not to sit down form more than 60 minutes at a time, as it will track how long you have been inactive for, and can give you a reminder to stand up!
You’re in charge
You can set your daily move goal depending on how active you intend to be, and how many active calories you want to burn. This, in conjunction with tracking calories eaten, can be a great way at staying on track if weight loss is your goal, as in order to lose weight you must be burning more calories than you are eating.
It’s all relative
In terms of accuracy, I can’t vouch for the % accuracy in terms of calories burnt. There’s only so far a small device on your wrist can go, and so I don’t take these figures as gospel. Instead, I use it as a tool to monitor my activity day by day in relation to my ‘standard’. I know that in order to achieve all my goals (and as a very goal orientated individual I get very disappointed in myself if I don’t reach them… occasionally extending the dog’s evening walk to ensure I’ve reached it!) I must be elevating my heart rate for at least 30 minutes a day – usually through a dedicated gym session but sometimes just dog walks – I must stand for at least one minute each hour over the duration of 12 hours, and I must burn 600 active calories, including my workout and daily activities.
Motivation on your wrist
I am a strong believer that my watch encourages me to be more consistent. I see a day by day breakdown and can implement changes if I feel like I am getting lazy (hello weekends = goals often not reached!).
The tracking also encourages NEAT – Non-exercise activity thermogenesis. This is the energy expended just through going about every day tasks. I am more inclined to take the stairs, or walk the dog for longer, knowing that every step is tracked and going towards my goal.
The Apple Watch isn’t the only option – I have used a Nike Fuelband, Jawbone Up, Fitbit and Misfit tracker in the past, and all of them encouraged me to increase my activity levels. I’ve stuck with the Apple watch because I find it easy to use, and I like the integration with my phone. Any tracker will do though!
Now many devices have the option to share your stats, so not only are you seeing your daily results, but you can share them with friends, take part in step count and movement challenges, and keep your friends accountable by telling them you will be checking in on their scores! If you’re the competitive type, or like to be held accountable by someone, then this little trick with be invaluable in keeping you moving more each day.
A tracker isn’t for everyone, and it’s easy to get obsessed with stats and figures. But if you use the device as a way of noticing your general movement trends, identifying when you’re being a bit lazy, and introducing some good old healthy competition to your fitness goals, then this is a great way to go!