Fitness Tracking: What Are the Benefits? Health
Fitness technology has come a long way. You can now track your fitness with a wearable band or smartwatch, have microchips planted in your shoes, use a smart yoga mat, or wear a smart mouthguard. There are apps and browser-based services, as well. If this isn’t enough to convince you to go out and purchase one, here’s how fitness trackers can change your life:
Exercise and get some sleep.
A pair of studies done by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) in 2014 found that most Americans don’t get enough sleep or exercise. This is troubling for more than just health reasons, though. Studies have shown that people who have infrequent or no exercise regimen are 50 percent less productive and that even a light exercise schedule can increase productivity greatly. In a paper published by Georgetown University, the authors concluded that all productivity benefits of an active lifestyle can be achieved in only two and a half hours of exercise a week. That’s just over 20 minutes a day.
All this exercise is for naught, however, if you don’t get the sleep you need. According to a study by Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital, sleep deprivation decreases your productivity on all fronts. This study points out how much people underestimate the amount of sleep they need for optimal productivity.
A consistent sleep schedule and routine exercise help increase your productivity. Additionally, it helps you lead a more balanced lifestyle. It helps you be more agreeable with coworkers, more accepting of other people’s ideas and feel a more thorough contentedness with your life, claims Brian Honigman, writing for SumAll Blog.
Invest in the right tech.
The Apple smartwatch, Samsung Gear line and bands like the Fitbit, Jawbone Up and Nike+ Fuelband measure your steps each day and then graph your movement on your smartphone, tablet or computer. Most of the major fitness tracker hardware also measures your sleep and helps you maintain a healthy sleep cycle. The high-end bands get more specific and specialized in what they can monitor like heart rate, blood oxygen level, skin temperature and more.
While there are some questions about how accurate these devices are, you should remember that there were questions concerning the accuracy of GPS devices as well. Even if your step counter is off by half a dozen steps, for all intents and purposes, these devices do accurately track your fitness endeavors.
However, David Pogue, writing for Scientific American, says the real value of these bands and watches isn’t the recording aspect, but the motivational one. These fitness bands keep your mind constantly connected with your physical progress. Every time you turn on your smartphone, a fitness update is there for you as well as your friends’ progress. These bands quantify your physical exertion each day and also turn it into a game. To win, you may find yourself parking further away from your office building, getting off the bus a couple stops early and going for a walk at the local park just to reach your step goal for the day.
The benefits of fitness trackers may not be what you might have thought, but they certainly encourage a more active lifestyle in the form of online communities and support groups.