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2018-19 Eat Smart. Play Hard Magazine

2018-19 Magazine

2018-19 Eat Smart. Play Hard. Magazine

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Fitness Trackers: Do They Make a Difference?

Today, these devices range from simple to sophisticated, with a variety of prices. Before you buy, you will want to consider the information available to help you find the right tracker to fit your budget, fitness, lifestyle and fashion sense.

Fitness trackers have been a popular purchase for adults looking to get in shape.

They are a useful tool for monitoring and measuring physical activity. The biggest benefit of this technology is that it helps you set simple activity goals and makes following your progress easy to do.

Today, these devices range from simple to sophisticated, with a variety of prices. Before you buy, you will want to consider the information available to help you find the right tracker to fit your budget, fitness, lifestyle and fashion sense.

As trackers have evolved, they have become trendy pieces of technology. Some look like a wrist watch, some have screens, and most are available in a variety of colors and styles.

Do they make a difference? Many studies have been done on the usability, validation and benefits of these devices to the user. One study published in Health Psychology and Behavioral Medicine found that women wearing the technology doubled the number of steps they took and the time they spent exercising per day. Social networking using the devices also increased the effectiveness of physical activity programs for women.

All-day trackers measure steps taken, stairs climbed, duration of exercise and sleep time. Training trackers also measure heart rate, breathing patterns, speed and altitude. Many useful reviews that compare brands and models of devices are available online. See www.bestreviews.com/best-fitness-trackers to learn more. Consumer Reports also has helpful reviews of the many products on the market.

What about kids? With concern for childhood obesity today, an increasing number of trackers are being marketed to get the younger generation moving as well. Remember, motivation is the major benefit of using a fitness tracker. By setting goals, getting feedback and being rewarded, kids could be encouraged to move more.

For younger children, trackers make a game of fitness. For older children and high school athletes, being able to track activity and share their stats on social media can prove helpful.

However, fitness trackers are not appropriate for every child. Children who already are highly motivated and active don’t need one. A tracker could add extra stress, making children feel they need to achieve even more.

If children need more motivation to exercise, giving them a fitness tracker alone is not enough. Forcing them to monitor their progress might be discouraging. Support of family and friends as role models is very important.

Keep in mind that a fitness tracker, like a gym membership or a piece of exercise equipment, is only beneficial if you use it.

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