01/09/2017 07:58 BST | Updated 01/09/2017 07:58 BST

How To Use Your Fitness Tracker To Actually Get Physically Fit


Whether you are aiming to lose some pounds, trying to tone up or just trying to maintain your body shape, the effective use of a fitness tracker could be the most sensible decision you will make. However, as with any inanimate object, it won't work by itself.

No matter which fitness tracker you buy, you will be wasting your money unless you truly want to use it with motivated and diligent dedication. This device is not going to suck all the fat out of you, it's going to require some work. That work consists of more than simply filling in your measurements and having it on your wrist. If you aren't willing to put the hours in, you might as well hold a tree branch. It is going to take a lot of time, perseverance and commitment. By never losing sight of the original reason you started exercising, you should never lose the enthusiasm that will encourage you to do this every day.

You will need to be constantly monitoring and maintaining your routine, never allowing yourself to slip back into old habits. You will need to be persistently progressing and improving. But most importantly, you will need to be focused. It is very easy to lose track of your ambitions and begin to forget your goals. That is what the fitness tracker is meant to prevent you doing. It is up to you to make sure you use it resourcefully and don't give up when the going gets tough. Here are a few ways you can measure whether you're advancing and encourage yourself to keep going:

• Take monthly/weekly pictures of yourself for comparison

• Regularly weigh yourself

• Set time-specific goals

• Do it with a friend to add an element of competition

• Look back at where you started and be proud of what you've accomplished, even if the change seems insignificant

Following every one of these steps will make achieving your target seem a lot more feasible. Not only that, but as you start to notice even very slight changes, you will feel like you are slowly edging closer to it with literally every step.

Making sure you know at least one other person with a fitness tracker can be a brilliant aid to your success. The fact that every time you see that person, you will be expected to show off and compare your improvement and skills, means that you will feel obliged to be making a constant effort. Feeling accountable for exercise is a great way to encourage yourself and even force yourself to push through on the days you feel you could quite contently stay sat on the sofa.

As the name suggests, fitness trackers were created in order to track people's fitness. By always being able to visually see how many steps you've taken, how fast your heart is beating or how many calories you are consuming, you are able to precisely plan your path to a healthy lifestyle. There is one study however, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, claiming that the devices caused people to be over reliant on the fitness tracker to change their health. The reality is, the device tracks and monitors the data, but you still need to get yourself out there and exercise. Without this, you will see no improvement.

You are also repetitively reminded of the reality of how much or how little you're succeeding, and this makes you the one responsible for deciding when you need to try harder and when you might be okay to lay back and take a break.

You can learn to use this to your complete advantage. Wearing your tracker from the moment you wake up, to the moment you go to sleep will ensure that you are tracking your progress based on legitimate statistics. After a week or so of counting your daily steps, you can calculate the average amount of steps you take per day. Simply add together all the steps you have taken during the week, and then divide that total by the amount of days there are in a week (seven). Once you have found your daily average, this will help you prepare for the next week. Depending on whether you found it challenging enough, or if you felt that was too easy, you can choose to up your average, or keep it for another week. Repeating this tactic will make sure that each time you increase your daily target, you are ready and have had enough practice to not feel too stretched with the task.

Another tip for getting the most out of your fitness tracker, is to make sure you are wearing it correctly. Although, technically, there isn't a wrong way to wear one, there is a way that can slightly impact your results. Due to the amount you use your dominant hand for manual tasks throughout the day, it is easy for some trackers to misread things like chopping an onion as you taking some steps. This can mean that your final results are including a few of these mistaken recordings. An easy way to avoid this is by wearing it on your opposite wrist. So, if you usually use your right-hand wear it on your left wrist, and if you usually use your left-hand wear it on your right. If you're still worried that your tracker is giving you false results, the most it could have misread would be a few hundred steps, so why not just take a short walk before bed to be sure? If it wasn't then you'll still be beating your own personal average by walking the extra steps every night and if it was then you'll be accounting for anything the tracker didn't.

You're still reading, which means you've probably decided you're determined to use your tracker. This will be one of the most useful decisions you make, if you use it wisely. By following all of the advice in this article, maintaining an optimistic attitude and never letting yourself slack, your body will bloom into its full potential within a matter of months. The key is to never give up and to always push yourself. I have complete faith that you will be able to accomplish what you aim to, but that part is now down to you.

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