Fitness Trackers: Mini Mega-Motivators

Guest article written by Susan Doktor

For moms, staying healthy is practically a full-time job of its own. Keeping up with doctors’ appointments. Making sure we’re up to date on the latest health news, from vital pandemic information to the evolving body of nutrition research. Then, once we figure out what we should be eating, we must shop for it and cook it. And hope our kids will eat it, of course! Then there is the endless sanitizing we must do now for our own safety. The result? A lot of moms I know have let their fitness routines slide. And it’s no wonder. Who has time?

But here’s a tip for you. Squeeze some exercise in each week, no matter what it takes. Dusting and the dishes can wait for 20 minutes a day. They can wait for a couple of days, if necessary. And your routine doesn’t have to be fancy. A brisk walk with the golden retriever. Low-tech stair climbing—on your own stairs. Or you can tune into a short aerobics video on YouTube.

Here’s where I tell you something you already know. Exercise has both immediate and long-term benefits. It can help you sleep better. Keep your cholesterol in check. Reduce your risk of breast cancer. But here’s something you might not know. Fitness trackers—those itty-bitty devices you wear on your wrist—have been demonstrated to increase our motivation to exercise. And as many of you will bear witness, motivation is the toughest thing to muster when it comes to following a fitness routine.

It may sound simple, but to get the most out of your fitness tracker the first step is to wear it every time you exercise. That means the best fitness tracker for you will be the one that’s most comfortable. Many trackers fit around your wrist, but models that attach to your shirt, fit around your finger, or connect to your keychain are easy to find. If you can get out to a store to shop around, try out various models. Many online retailers offer free returns and shipping. So consider ordering several trackers at once. You can pick your favorite, then return the “runners up.”

Depending on how you like to work out, other features may become important. If you engage in various modes of exercise, a model that distinguishes among types of movement may suit you best. If you’re a hiker, you may prefer a model that incorporates an altimeter as well as a distance monitor. If you like to lift weights or work with bands, a fitness tracker that measures resistance might be important to you. And if you love to sneak away to the Y for an invigorating swim or water aerobics class, be sure to pick a device that’s fully waterproof, not just sweat-resistant.

Let’s face it. We all get bored with our routines sometimes. The great news is, your fitness tracker can help with that, too. Find a model that communicates with your smartphone to provide variety in the form of programmed workouts. If you already own a treadmill or cross-fit trainer, you may want to consider a fitness tracker that can communicate with your machine’s console.

Some people thrive on competition. Are you one of them? Maybe you’ve been missing your weekly racquetball games since the global pandemic shut down your gym. Then you might enjoy a fitness tracker that incorporates sophisticated connectivity features. You can compete against people around the world or your best friend around the corner with one of those.

When it comes to price, fitness trackers range from very affordable to very expensive. You can find a basic model for about $30. But you can also spend a lot more. It all depends on how many bells and whistles you’re interested in. But no matter what model you decide on, you can count on it to deliver some great information—the kind you need to get a more effective workout and monitor your progress over time. 

Author bio:

Susan Doktor is a journalist and business strategist who hails from New York City. She blogs on a wide range of topics, including fitness, travel, technology, parenting, and food and wine. One of her favorite places to hike is around Lake Louise. Follow her on Twitter @branddoktor.

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