Why a Fitness Tracker Makes a Great Gift
A few years ago my sister received a fitness tracker as a gift and I thought ‘what an odd gift to give someone who is inactive’. But I was wrong, it was the perfect gift. Why? Because she became more aware of her activity level. Here it is 2 years later and she is more active, feels better, and is 15 lbs. lighter.
I had a similar experience after joining a challenge that required a fitness tracker earlier this year. I wanted to purchase a tracker anyway so it was a good excuse to buy one. And beside, I really wanted to see what the hype was about. I did some research and felt that the Alta HR was best for me. It is slim and has lots of different band options. And you can change the band so it looks like a fancy watch. Soon I was taking 10,000 steps a day, which is great for me because I tend to sit at my desk a lot. A LOT. I love the reminders to get up and move. I’ll explain some features of the Fitbit Alta HR below.
So, after some initial ‘learning curve’ setup issues (I would rather play with my new toys then read the instructions), it’s been great. The only thing changed after getting used to it is that I won’t wear it to bed anymore. I don’t really need to see how I sleep anyway and I wonder if it’s good for you to wear it 24×7. But maybe that’s just me…
Another great feature is that Health Insurance Companies are beginning to accept Fitness Tracker information, if you want to share your exercise and activity levels. They may even reduce premiums if you are active, or give you points for that activity. Be sure to check with your Health insurance company for their offers and how to sync your fitness information.
Fitness Trackers – Are They Worth It?
Heart Rate Monitor
The one thing that a fitness monitor does well is measure and record your heart rate. Why should you measure your heart rate you ask? Great question! Did you know that your resting heart rate is a good indicator of heart health? I found a few great articles about heart rates and suffice it to say, it may be more important than you think. It was an eye opener for me.
3 Great Articles on the Importance of Heart Rate Monitoring:
Resting heart rate is measured by beats per minute or BPM. For the super fit, RHR tends to be lower because a healthy heart is able to pump more blood with each beat with greater efficiency, thus requiring fewer beats per minute to pump blood throughout the body. Conversely, an elevated heart rate can be a sign of health issues.
∼ by Mackenzie Lobby Havey for the Under Armour Blog
When it comes to exercising and your heart rate or exertion, knowing your target heart rate can help you be more conscious of the effort you’re putting in, or the effort you still need to put in. If you track your heart rate during exercise and you know what zone you should be in you can adjust the intensity as necessary and save yourself time and effort while getting the most out of your workout.
∼ by Amy Froneman for health24
Hit the Target: Find Your Heart Rate
Now that you have a target, you can monitor your heart rate to make sure you’re in the zone. As you exercise, periodically check your heart rate. A wearable activity tracker makes it super easy, but if you don’t use one you can also find it manually:
- Take your pulse on the inside of your wrist, on the thumb side.
- Use the tips of your first two fingers (not your thumb) and press lightly over the artery.
- Count your pulse for 30 seconds and multiply by 2 to find your beats per minute.
Important Note: Some drugs and medications affect heart rate, meaning you may have a lower maximum heart rate and target zone. If you have a heart condition or take medication, ask your healthcare provider what your heart rate should be.
∼ by www.heart.org
In Case You Miss It…
Heart Rate Chart from Heart.org – the article above contains this chart:
|Age||Target HR Zone 50-85||Average Maximum Heart
|20 years||100-170 beats per minute (bpm)||200 bpm|
|30 years||95-162 bpm||190 bpm|
|35 years||93-157 bpm||185 bpm|
|40 years||90-153 bpm||180 bpm|
|45 years||88-149 bpm||175 bpm|
|50 years||85-145 bpm||170 bpm|
|55 years||83-140 bpm||165 bpm|
|60 years||80-136 bpm||160 bpm|
|65 years||78-132 bpm||155 bpm|
|70 years||75-128 bpm||150 bpm|
Convinced That Fitness Trackers are Great Yet?
See what we mean? Wouldn’t you love to get a Fitness Tracker or Fitbit as a gift? I think it says: “I love you. I care about you. And I want you here with me a long time.” If I didn’t have one already, I would be over the moon if I received one. And the person wearing the tracker would think of you with every workout!
Since the Fitbit Alta HR is the one tracker that I can speak to personally, I will show you some features that I love. But, there are lots of fitness trackers to choose from with lots of different features. Trackers are not a one-size-fits-all product, so do some online shopping to see what you like best. For example, if you like to walk you can buy an inexpensive pedometer. It may be just the thing to get you or a loved-one up and about. Use the Fitbit Alta HR link below to see lots of fitness trackers and options on Amazon.
Motivating features of the
Once you load the app on your device, tap the icon and you’ll see that the main screen is separated into 2 zones. The top zone changes daily and it’s where you’ll see up to the minute stats (be sure you setup syncing). The blue bands around the stat shows how you are doing vs. the goals you set for steps, miles, calories, and minutes of exercise.
After you meet your goal for each stat, you are rewarded with a green icon that shows a white star in the middle, with graffiti being thrown from it. Here is my icon for reaching 10,000 step goal for the day.
The Steps, Miles, Calories and Minutes are daily stats and reset at midnight.
The bottom zone can be changed to show what you would like to track and you can move the icons up, down, or to either side so the most-used icons are convenient.
You can also record how much water you drank for the day and the number of calories you ate/drank as well. Tapping on any of these icons will show you history, so it’s a great way to see your progress. When you slip a bit, it will help you get back on track because it will remind you how great you were doing. While the graffiti only shows briefly, the icon for those goals you met remain green and are very motivational.
How to Track Exercises
Because the Fitbit works on Heart Rate, it is able to track those exercises that raise your heart rate consistently for more than 15 minutes, it will do it automatically. For example, if I am on the Elliptical machine for 30 minutes, it has no problem tracking that. But Stretching or weights cannot be tracked automatically. For some exercise types you can enter your activity manually and it will calculate an approximate number of calories burned. Here’s how:
After you tap the Fitbit icon to open the app, tap on the weekly exercise icon (you should find it Zone 2 that we mentioned above).
This screen will appear and you’ll tap the stopwatch icon in the upper-right corner.
The next screen is where you will set your exercise category. When you tap ‘LOG’ the screen looks like this:
If you do not see your exercise type listed, type it into the Search area to search for it. Or, better yet, just type the first letter and let the app display the available activities. There are lots of activities (exercise types and sports) to choose from but if you don’t see your exact exercise type, choose an activity that matches the activity level as closely as possible. And don’t forget, some exercises will auto-register for you (such as your elliptical machine workout).
Once you have selected an exercise it will be available on the LOG screen and you can skip the search.
|Once you set your activity, you will see this screen. Enter the Start time and Duration. The app will change the calories burned based on the activity you have chosen.
Tap ‘Add’ on the upper-right for the next screen.
Notice that above I set my start time as 5:05, but here it shows that it’s 5:07 and I haven’t started my stretching yet. The app knows my heart rate and only shows 2 calories burned (I was jogging in place). It also shows that I set my duration at 35 minutes. I scrolled down to show you the rest of the screen on the right.
Now that my exercise has been set you can see the difference between this screen and the one shown in Step 2 above. This screen shows that I now have a Stretching session planned for the 2nd workout of the week. The first was the Elliptical session on Sunday. My Alta HR automatically set that one for me. All I did was start my workout and 15 minutes later (I think that’s the minimum for activity auto-detection) my app registered my progress.
And one more feature that I think you’ll love…
As we mentioned, the fitbit will give you gentle reminders every hour to get active. You set the hours that you will be active (I show 8am – 8pm below) and it has a gentle vibration and motivational messages flash on the screen. After you have met your goals, a little red dot will appear in the hour you met the goal (250 steps per hour is my goal and my Alta just notified me that I have 10 minutes to reach my goal for the hour).
The other feature that is great is that you can see your resting heart rate. As we mentioned in the articles above, this is a sign of good health and a happy heart.
FitBit Alta HR Screen
So, whether you have a FitBit, or receive one as a gift. You’ll want to be sure to have all of your activity registered so be sure you have the software loaded. Here is mine next to a challenge I did this year – Outbreak – it was a blast and I highly recommend it!
So, here’s my iPhone Fitbit icon next to the Outbreak Zombie walking challenge icon:
If use properly, this can be a great motivator and increase your activity level by being more aware of you activity – or as in my case, inactivity. Highly recommended, I think you’ll like it for yourself too! Enjoy!
Thank you for spending part of your day with us. We had a lot of fun creating this and hope you find it useful. If you have a tracker you love, let us all know – we’d love to hear from you!
Wishing you the best of health!
FitBit Alta HR – About the product
- Get the power of continuous heart rate in Fitbit’s slimmest design yet-all day, during workouts and beyond
- With heart rate, you can better measure calorie burn, and use zones (Fat Burn, Cardio, and Peak) to find the right workout intensity for your goals
- See how working out more can improve your health by comparing your resting heart rate trends to your activity
- With sleep stages powered by PurePulse heart rate, automatically track your time spent in light, deep and REM sleep and take steps toward a better night’s rest
- Automatically track your steps, distance, calories burned and active minutes with up to 7 days of battery life (varies with use and other factors)
- Fitbit does not guarantee the quality or authenticity of products purchased from non-authorized resellers on Amazon, and they are not eligible for warranty/replacement. Authorized Fitbit retailers: Amazon.com, Heart Rate Monitors USA and Clever Training
- NOTE: Refer the User Manual before use.
Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars – Worth it! I love it! Holds me accountable and provides information about my activity I’ve always wanted to know.”I love this thing. I had it for a few months now and it does hold me accountable. Love knowing how well I’m sleeping and generally how active I am during the day so it’s more than just a work out device for me. I don’t weigh myself but my clothes are looser and I do think its this little guy saying “Let’s stroll” every hour (you can change it to remind you when you want.) …”
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