Take 12 Steps for Health
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Step 9: Sync Up with Fitness
Get up to speed with the latest fitness devices – track and sync your wellness goals for accountability and motivation.
Making Healthy Strides
|TRY THIS||INSTEAD OF THAT|
10,000 Steps Daily
Maybe you have heard the recent guidelines about walking 10,000 steps per day. Did you know that 10,000 steps is close to 5 miles? It is! Walking can be done just about anywhere, and walking is easy on your joints, burns calories and can reduce stress levels.
Sitting all day
A sedentary person may only average 1,000 to 3,000 steps a day. For these people adding steps has many health benefits. A reasonable goal for most people is to increase average daily steps each week by 500 per day until you can easily average 10,000 per day.
Source: The Walking Site, "10,000 Steps"
Fit Band Savvy
The features of today’s fit bands are a convenient blend of earlier, more primitive gadgets: somewhat cumbersome heart rate monitors used by athletes for years, and pedometers that clipped onto belts and measured daily activity in steps. Heart rate monitors weren’t very convenient, and pedometers weren’t all that accurate, and certainly lacked a ‘cool’ factor. The technology behind today’s fit bands solves these problems and adds many more features, such as counting calories burned, tracking goals, reminders, and connecting with smartphone apps to display information in useful and interesting ways.
A study for the American Council on Exercise found that when people use a fit band to monitor activity throughout the day, they are 30 to 40 percent more active. Another study, by the Consumer Electronics Association, found that among people who own fitness trackers, 87 percent agree that the devices prompt them to be more active, and many use them to monitor progress toward fitness goals.
Different fit bands offer different combinations of functions, and may or may not include a watch. As a rule, the more they do, the more they cost. Depending on your preferences, these are some features to look for, but not every product includes all these:
- Measure activity throughout the day, in steps
- Remind you to get up and move
- Estimate calories burned
- Measure sleep time and whether or not you move around or wake up during the night
- Remind you of fitness goals
- Show you how close you are to achieving your goals for the day
- Monitor heart rate during various types of exercise
- Alert you when heart rate goes above or below a preset range while you work out
- During a workout, measure distance and time
- Work with a variety of apps to enable you to see progress and set new goals
- Navigate and track locations and distance with a GPS
- Interact with a smartphone to control music and other phone functions
Sources: Amazing Wellness, "Tech-Savvy Fitness"
Gadgets for the Fitness Fanatic
Ever evolving technology brings new devices to the world of fitness. A workout can be supercharged with the right music, apparel or watch. Here are a few new innovations for the fitness fanatic.
- Underwater headphones – Neptune, by Finis. A waterproof MP3 player that provides the highest quality sound in the water without the use of ear buds. Neptune uses revolutionary Bone Conduction audio transmission to transmit crystal clear audio through the cheekbones directly into the inner ear. With 4GB of storage, aquatic athletes can listen to music, audiobooks, podcasts and more, all with incredible sound quality.
- Portion Control – HAPIfork, by Jacques Lepin. HAPIfork is an electronic fork that helps you monitor and track eating habits. It also alerts you with the help of indicator lights and gentle vibrations when you are eating too fast.
- Workout Refreshment – “One” bottle, by Umoro. The Umoro One functions like any other bottle, but with a push of a button, it can release up to 1.5 scoops of your favorite protein mix. It’s great for use in the gym during workouts and having that post workout drink right after without having to carry multiple bottles around. The ‘ball’ that holds the supplement in also acts as a mixer for those harder-to-dissolve powder drinks.
- Socks – Smart Sock, by Sensoria. Designed for runners, the Sensoria Smart Sock tells you how well you’ve been running and how to improve your performance over time. Even though it has signals or sensors in the sock, it’s still washable and as comfortable as the next pair of conventional socks. The app learns from your daily movements and acts like a virtual coach, providing you tips on how fast your pace should be or how to land your feet correctly.
- Scale – Aria, by Fitbit. The Fitbit Aria can track the body fat percentage and Body Mass Index (BMI) of up to 8 users, and transfer the data wirelessly to your computer for your progress management. The data it collects is supported and works well together with many other apps. It’ll sync to your smartphone to notify you when you have achieved a fitness goal.
Source: Hongkiat, "10 Cool Fitness Gadgets for Health Junkies"
Syncing Technology with your Fitness Routine
Though technology has been blamed for the upward trend in American sedentary lifestyles, it does not have to be a reason for you to sit still. Instead, use technology as a motivator to get fit and promote behavior changes that work in your daily life. Using technology to support your health and fitness goals can lead to major successes.
Monitoring your heart rate during exercise is a very basic and effective way to measure intensity. A heart rate monitor consists of a strap that is worn around the chest, and a wrist watch. If you are working on a piece of cardio equipment, such as a treadmill or elliptical, oftentimes the machine will automatically sync with your chest strap and the data will be displayed on the panel in front of you. The same is true for most wearable trackers, such as a FitBit, Nike Fuel Band, or Garmin Vivofit, which will also display heart rate information when you are wearing the chest strap. Knowing your heart rate during exercise provides a numerical way to judge how hard you are working. To calculate your maximum heart rate (HRmax) = 220 – your age. When exercising, you want to aim for a range 65% - 85% of your HRmax. With training over time, a heart rate monitor can help you to target and stay within this range for longer bouts, and achieve your cardio fitness goals.
Technology can also provide structure outside of the gym. Smart phone applications (“apps”) give you the freedom to track your fitness activities right from your phone. For instance, the Argus app will record your movements as long as you have your phone with you, and can also log workouts, water consumption, and take photos of your meals. This all inclusive app can give you a more complete picture of what you are doing for your health throughout the day, and what changes you could make for improvement. There are many other apps available specifically for fitness, bike riding, running, meal tracking, and more! The key is to find one, or a few, that work for you.
Source: Obesity Action Coalition, "Working Technology Into Your Exercise Routine"
The Take 12 program is free and anyone can participate at any time. This program is designed to:
- Help you accomplish healthy goals each month, with tips to keep you going for the duration.
- Give you access to information - free workshops are available each month on different healthy topics and bulletin boards loaded with information are posted at all the RECenters.
- Provide an opportunity for you to experience fitness and wellness programs offered across Fairfax County.
- Empower you to make important lifestyle changes... you can do it!
- Plus, sign-up to receive the monthly e-newsletter, packed with recipes and healthy tips, upcoming events, and opportunities to achieve your Take 12 goals!