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5 ways a fitness tracker can help you improve your everyday health

At the end of the day, a fitness tracker can’t run a mile for you, or put healthier food into your mouth. But what it will do is give you the information you need to get a better picture of your health from day to day and make better choices. Here are five ways using a tracker could actually help you better your everyday health.

Awareness of movement

If you look at pretty much any fitness tracker on the market, step tracking is likely featured. While you could consider this the simplest, least exciting of features, it still remains one of the most important. Why? Because it makes you aware of how much, or how little, you happen to be moving. It’s easy to make estimates about how far you walk in a day, but with a tracker you’ve got concrete evidence. And once you have that knowledge, you can do something about it and see the results in real time.

Motivation to move more

If you’re competitive, either with others or just yourself, a tracker can turn fitness into a game – motivating you to move more and travel further each day. With great accompanying apps you can see how much you’ve moved each day and set and meet your goals. With some trackers you can even compete against your friends and earn badges (Fitbit).

Reminders to get up

Now you know how much you move, and are perhaps motivated to move more, but sometimes it’s easy to simply forget to move. You could be at work lost in a project, or at home in a Netflix haze, and it may not occur to you to get up. With certain trackers you can set alerts when you haven’t achieved a certain level of movement in a set period of time. These reminders can help you snap out of a stupor and get a bit more activity into your day.

A better picture of health

Not only does your tracker give you a better idea of how much you’re moving each day, but using the accompanying apps you can also track other health stats to get a better picture of what your everyday health looks like. For example, some trackers work in tandem with apps that let you track food and water consumption. Some also have heart rate monitors, which, aside from giving you a better view of your workout intensity, can also give you clues when something is amiss.

Tracking for sleep

Most trackers, when worn while sleeping, can give you a good overview of how you sleep through the night. It won’t be as accurate as say tracking your sleep at an actual lab, but you’ll get a general sense. For example, you may go to bed at 10pm and set your alarm for 7am, but how much sleep do you actually get in those nine hours? With sleep tracking you can find out just how much sleep you’re actually getting and how well you’re resting. If you are waking up lots, you can look back on your previous day and consider if you’ve done anything that might have impacted your rest – like drinking caffeine late or using a screen before bed. You can then use that information to try and change your habits to improve your sleep.

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