Written by Chad Pilkington
How many steps have you taken today? Do you know how many Calories you burn when you run that mile-and-a-half loop around the neighborhood? How do you track if you are doing too much or too little during a workout?
Thankfully, it is 2022 and technology is here to help. With the right wearable technology, it’s never been easier to learn about and stay on top of your healthy habits.
I should preface with this: this is in no way a product review and there are far too many wearable options out there to talk about each of them. I’ll save some of the differences in specific products for another blog. That being said, here are some of my favorite reasons to use a fitness wearable:
Track your steps
First, the most common feature–a pedometer, aka step counter! You’d be hard-pressed to find any fitness wearable that does not include this basic feature. For years now, we’ve all heard about the benefits of getting your 10k steps in each day; tracking them on a wearable is the easiest way to work towards that goal!
Track your heart rate
Arguably, one of the most important features of a fitness wearable is the ability to monitor your heart rate. At this point with technology, most of the reputable wearables include this feature. Knowing your heart rate, as well as your target heart rate zones, can help you understand whether you are doing enough to get the most out of your workouts. Most of us would agree that time is one of our most valuable personal assets; knowing that you are getting the most out of your workout in that time only adds to that feeling of pride and satisfaction! Head over to Heart.org to learn more about where your heart rate targets should be.
Track your calories
Another great feature of many fitness wearables is Calorie tracking. Many wearables combine data points (age, weight, sex) with heart rate monitoring so it can calculate an estimate for energy (Calories) spent. As a disclaimer, these readings are ESTIMATES.
Think about energy in its simplest terms–you need to expend more energy than you consume if your goal is to lose weight, you need to expend as much as you consume if your goal is to maintain weight, and you will need to expend less energy than you consume if your goal is to gain weight. Knowing how much energy you spend is invaluable in helping you achieve those goals. Not only will you know how much energy you spent right there in that workout, but you can use this information to better structure your progress toward goals.
If you know that you spend the same 250 Calories in that 20-minute jog as you do in that 40-minute strength session and your schedule is packed, you can use this data to help organize your days through the week so you can stick to your targets. Just remember–BOTH cardio AND strength training are part of a well-balanced health regimen and you should strive for both consistently!
Make it social
Another common feature you may or may not leverage is the ability to share your workouts or your progress and compete with friends. This is a really cool feature to keep yourself surrounded by supportive friends and loved ones…and who doesn’t love healthy competition every once in a while?
While most of the aforementioned features are common on most fitness wearables, there are definitely some more advanced features and functionality that can help you gain additional insight into your health. For example, my Apple Watch tracks my Calories spent throughout the day, both in regular activity and exercises. My iPhone then takes that information and plugs it into a food diary app I use. This tells me how many grams of carbs, fats and proteins I need to consume based on that day’s activity level (we’ll save the discussion on this type of macro-dieting for another day with our nutritionist, Meaghan MacLean).
Some wearables can synchronize with medical provider apps and give your medical care team a snapshot of your health. Some can track sleep patterns and help you discern your good and bad sleeping habits. Others have GPS capabilities that can show you distance traveled in a route as well as your finished route on a map overlay.
There are plenty of wearable options out there for different lifestyles. It’s really about what you are looking for and how comprehensive you want to be. At the end of the day, a wearable provides you with quantifiable data that can be incredibly beneficial in keeping you on your goals. It’s up to you how to use that information!
In addition to wearable technology that can help you improve your fitness skills, we have a group of personal trainers that are dedicated to working with you to meet your fitness goals and enhance your lifestyle. From solo training, to group workouts, to virtual workouts, we have the perfect training program for you! Contact us today to learn more.
Our personal trainers can help you incorporate your wearable technology into a smart fitness program. Book your free consultation and first workout with Chad or another of our qualified personal trainers today!