Fitness trackers can motivate extra steps | Valley Women

Exercise is good for your heart. Studies show that using a fitness tracker can increase your steps, Johns Hopkins University says.

“Being more active and changing your habits is important,” cardiologist Dr. Seth Martin said. “Tracking likely helps a lot of people when combined with a clear goal to shoot for.”

Types of 
fitness trackers

Fitness trackers can be as simple as a pedometer or as complex as a smart watch. No matter which you choose, fitness trackers can provide a record of how much you’re moving. It can coax you into adding more activity to your day — parking farther away at the store, taking the stairs and more.

“It gives people information and empowers them to start making changes for heart health,” Martin said. “And often, their activity level was not something they were paying attention to before they started tracking.”

Where to start

The cheapest way to get started with a fitness tracker is to get a cheap (or even free; check with your doctor’s office or insurance company, or your employee wellness plan) pedometer. It just tracks your steps as you go through your daily routine. The most common goal is 10,000 steps per day, but always check with your doctor before starting an exercise plan.

Leveling up

There are also more complex trackers that monitor your vital signs as well as distance traveled. Some models can even automatically detect what kind of exercise you’re doing. These wearables may also pair with your phone so you can use them to check messages and listen to music on the go. There are a variety of different models on the market with different capabilities. Ask yourself what kinds of things you’d like it to track, how often you’d like to charge it and which kinds of devices you’d like it to pair with while doing your research.

Fancier trackers may also mean more money even though, again, some insurance and wellness plans may offer a steep discount in exchange for you getting more fit. Some trackers also allow you to connect with friends and family so you can create a little friendly competition to reach your health goals sooner.

“I think technology can be a very powerful tool to get people moving more,” Martin said.