Everyone who exercises wants to be fit, right?
Well, perhaps not everyone bothers but the intent is usually there. It’s a fact that a lot of people think they’re fit when they’re actually not. Doing a little bit of exercise is helpful but might not be enough to keep you fit. That’s why fitness tracking can be a really good idea. There are lots of ways to do it, for example standing on the weighing scales regularly will give you some insight to how fit you are.
But scales are only a tiny part of showing your true fitness. You may be exercising to lose weight, but as the fat comes off the muscle builds so it may appear that weight loss is very slow. In this case, it gives a true picture but perhaps in a distorted way, as fat is being lost although replaced to some degree by muscle.
Keeping a record and tracking changes will show a trend over time and it’s this that can help to take you forward. Fitness trackers are just one part of the overall picture but they are fast becoming a major part for those who want to keep a very close check on their performance.
Why is Fitness Tracking Important?
If you regularly exercise there’s a good chance that you’re reasonably fit, but if you keep a track of what you do and record the effects it has on you, you’ll get a better insight into your body.
When you first start on a routine it’ll give you a bass line to work from. If you know where you’re at with fitness and your cardiovascular system you’ll have an idea on your state of health and can then keep a check on it. It’s amazing how many people don’t do this check but it can be really helpful to your health.
There has been some controversy around fitness trackers as they rely on motion to function. Identifying the type of motion, for example, whether you’re lifting a set of weights or a tin of beans could cause results to be unreliable. Activity is the key though, as long as you work from a bass you can keep a track of improvements.
Your cardiovascular system forms a part of your health, so keeping a check on the velocity of oxygen (VO2) pumping around your body is important as this is how cardio fitness is measured.
Most activity trackers don’t have a function to measure your heart rate but they do have an option to connect to a heart rate monitor. This, as you might guess, comes as an additional extra and therefore at an extra cost. It’s something to bear in mind if you’re looking to buy one.
Many people concentrate too much on their fitness routine rather than an overall healthy lifestyle. This can cause result in stress if you get too focused on routine because you can’t always be consistent and you need to allow for this. Seeing a healthy lifestyle as part of the routine should help as it broadens it out.
How Important is Fitness Tracking?
The old saying, “if you don’t know where you’re going you won’t know when you’ve arrived” is very true here. Keeping a track of your fitness will help prevent you going to extremes which may have short-term effects but no long-term gains.
We’ve already mentioned keeping a record weighing yourself, but you need a bigger picture. Monitoring your eating habits is important. Some of the best fitness trackers together with their synched online app will keep a check on your calorie intake and the calories burned during workouts. This is a good way to monitor weight loss if that’s what you’re trying to do. If you’re burning off less than is going in, you’ll see and can then do something about it.
You’ll be able to see improvements you’re making. You can set yourself targets and compare results to see your achievement. This can be highly motivating, taking you forward and is an important part of fitness tracking.
By measuring yourself you’ll know what to do if a particular routine is working or not and how you might change. Some trackers will give feedback based on your performance or even suggest ways you can improve. This is all worked out from the way you set it up when you first start out. You’ll probably change these settings as you reach different levels so you can keep an up to date record of how you’re doing.
Sleep patterns can have an impact on health so it’s good that some fitness trackers will monitor your sleep. They let you know when you drifted off, woke during the night and in the morning. This again is achieved through monitoring movements during your sleep. With this knowledge you can alter your sleep pattern, for example, go to bed earlier or later, to add to your overall fitness and health.
Conclusion on Fitness Tracking
There’s no doubt that fitness tracking in whichever way you do it, has to be a good thing. With the speed at which technology is improving, new devices are being released regularly. They all do pretty much the same thing, but other things to look out for, apart from the basics, are heart monitoring plus the extra cost of it, whether its waterproof, sleep monitoring and integration online with an app.
If you want to include heart monitoring, the Polar Loop Activity Tracker may be worth looking at. As previously mentioned, it does come at an extra cost, but the Finnish company behind this model are best known for their heart rate monitors. The Misfit Shine Activity and Sleep Monitor is waterproof so can be worn for swimming, which may be an important part of your fitness routine. One other good thing about it is that it can be worn on a different part of the body, so isn’t confined to the wrist.
The Up24 by Jawbone uses advanced software and has a haptic feedback and sleep awareness engine built into it which can give fairly detailed stats on your sleep patterns and both the Polar Loop and Up24 provide good information about your progress online.