Fitness trackers can help you live a healthier lifestyle. These little devices are designed to motivate you to walk that extra mile to the train, rather than taking a cab. They are there to remind you not to eat that extra piece of bacon, no matter how delicious it may smell. To help you stay on track many fitness tracks allow you to set daily activity goals, but how should you go about setting these goals? We've got all of the answers you're looking for right here:
How many steps should I take?
There is a belief that you must walk 10,000 steps a day, but this recommendation actually originated in Japan in the 1960s as part of a marketing slogan for a new pedometer. To this day there is still a debate whether 10,000 steps is the correct metric. One thing is clear, however, and that's that walking is important for living a healthy lifestyle. The Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention recommends adults get at least 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity, such as brisk walking, every week.
Your steps goals should be personalized based on your fitness level. There are some trackers available, such as the Basis Peak and Garmin Vivofit, that will tailor goals to you. For most trackers, though, you must set goals yourself. If you aren't active, you should start small and build yourself up to 10,000 steps or more. Try 5,000 steps to start and once that has been met, increase your goal to 6,000, then 7,000 and so on.
How many miles should I walk?
A person takes on average about 2,000 steps per mile. You should set your milage goal relative to your steps goal. For example, if you are aiming to walk 6,000 steps a day, your mileage goal should be three miles.
How many calories should I burn?
It's difficult to recommend a general goal for calories. Everyone burns a different number of calories each day based their sex, age, weight and activity level. I recommend using the goal that is automatically set for you after you provide your fitness tracker's app with your personal information. If you are looking to lose weight and are willing to track the amount of calories you consume, you should aim to burn more calories per day than you consume.
How much sleep should I get?
Everyone is different when it comes to the amount of sleep they need at night and there is no "magic number" for how many hours you should try and sleep. The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, however, recommends that teens attempt to get between 9 and 10 hours of sleep at night, while adults (including the elderly) should aim for between 7 and 8 hours.
Now that you've properly set your fitness goals, make sure you aren't making any of these common mistakes.
5 things you're doing wrong with your fitness tracker
Fitness trackers have taken the tech scene by storm. These smart pedometers communicate with your smartphone and track the number of steps you take, distance you travel, calories you burn and your sleep at night. But picking the best fitness tracker for you isn't enough. Whether you're an experienced wearable veteran or a newcomer, make sure you aren't making any of these mistakes:
You never entered your personal information
You will be asked to create an account and provide some basic personal information, such as your height, weight, age and sex, the first time you sync your fitness tracker with your phone. It's imperative that you fill out this section. This information is used to more accurately estimate the steps you take, the distance you travel and the calories you burn.
You never specified which wrist it's on
Whether it's in the initial app setup or buried in the settings menu, almost every tracker will ask which wrist you will be wearing the device on. If you are wearing it on your right wrist, make sure it's set for the right and not the left, and vice versa. Some trackers even have the option to mark whether you will be wearing the device on your dominant hand. You tend to move your dominant hand more than the other, which is why this option will decrease the sensitivity of the tracker.
You haven't set realistic goals
Most trackers come out of the box wanting you to immediately start walking 10,000 steps a day. For a lot of people this isn't a realistic option. Some trackers, such as the Basis Peak and Garmin Vivofit and Vivosmart, tailor daily goals to your specific needs. While this isn't the case for most trackers, you can usually set your own goals in the mobile app. Be sure to start low, maybe something around 5,000 or 6,000 steps a day. Once the goal has been met, increase it and attempt to walk even longer than your previous best.
You forgot to turn off sleep mode
One of the coolest things about these fitness trackers is they're capable of tracking your sleep at night. Depending on the device, you may have push or hold a button to activate sleep mode. When I first started wearing a fitness tracker I would sometimes leave sleep mode running all day.
To receive a more accurate recording of your sleep, it's important to enable sleep mode as soon as you are ready to fall asleep and disable it immediately after you wake up. Make sure it's not enabled while you browse Facebook or read a book in bed. This problem doesn't pertain to you if you own a device that can automatically track sleep.
You never calibrated it
Does the distance reading on your tracker seem inaccurate? You likely forgot to calibrate it. While companies such as Jawbone and Fitbit suggest that this is an optional process, it could fix any accuracy problems you are having. Not every fitness tracker can be calibrated, but if yours supports it you will likely find the option in the settings menu on the mobile app.