Health

How to Get the Most From Your Physical Activity Technology

There are many cellphone applications and technology accessories on the market to help people reach their fitness goals.

Physical Activity Technology
Photo credit: Bigstockphoto.com

Motivational Tip: Any movement is better than no movement! Start slowly and work your way to 10,000 steps per day.

How can you choose what type of technology would be of use to you? Start by asking yourself the following questions to help guide you on your search:

  1. What is your goal?
  2. Are you looking for something simple to track your steps?
  3. Would you also like technology that provides you with an exercise plan or program?
  4. Do you want to know what your heart rate is?
  5. Do you want technology that will keep track of your exercise statistics so that you can see improvement?
  6. Do you want something you can wear, or would you like to use the technology you already have?

Exercise Applications

To use the technology you already have, here are some applications and websites you can use or install on your smartphone to help you track your physical activity.

  • MapMyWalk at www.mapmywalk.com (also available as an app for your cellphone) allows you to track your distance, pace, number of calories burned, heart rate, and steps per minute.
  • Walkmeter app tracks basic information like distance, time, speed, and pace and has features that can help you train for a 5K or marathon.
  • Endomondo app tracks outdoor exercise speed, distance, and time. You can also choose from different workouts.
  • Charity Miles app tracks your workout and donates to a charity of your choice depending on how much of a workout you do.
  • Some phones come with a standard fitness app, such as Samsung Fitness or iPhone Health, which can track your health and wellness data.

Wearable Fitness Trackers

If you would rather wear a device to help track your physical activity, here are some options that are currently on the market. Most of these brands offer an array of models from basic to advanced that vary in price according to capability.

  • Garmin smartwatch can track heart rate and activity, play music, and provide access to maps.
  • Fitbit trackers can track activity, exercise, sleep, weight, heartbeat, and more depending on which version you choose. The Fitbit app also allows you to track intake of water and has a section for nutrient analysis.
  • Apple Watch can track heart rate and allows you to access apps of your choice to track distance, speed, time walked, etc. Apple Watch interfaces with your phone to allow you to receive calls and alerts on your watch.
  • Samsung Gear Fit tracks your steps, distance, and heart rate and interfaces with smartphones.

• Standard Pedometer tracks steps and is inexpensive, but it is not very durable or as accurate as other trackers.

Physical Activity Guidelines

How much physical activity should you be aiming to accomplish?

  • Preschool-age children (3–5 years old) – Active throughout the day
  • Children and adolescents (6–17 years old) – 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity daily
  • Adults – 150–300 minutes of moderate-intensity activity or 75–150 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity per week, and muscle-strengthening activities two days per week; older adults should include balance training in their exercise plan

Goal Setting

Example

Current Exercise Status: Currently walking without a purpose.

Goal: Find technology to be mindful of physical activity, and try to walk 10,000 steps per day.

My Goal

Current Exercise Status: __________________________________________________________________

Physical Activity Goal: ____________________________________________________________________

Examples of moderate- intensity activity include walking at 2.5 miles per hour or faster, bicycling slower than 10 miles per hour on level terrain, tennis, active yoga, ballroom dancing, general yard work, water aerobics, and recreational swimming.

Examples of vigorous-intensity activity include jogging, running, swimming laps, dancing, bicycling over 10 miles per hour, jumping rope, hiking uphill, kickboxing, and step aerobics.

Remember to start slowly and work your way up to the guidelines.

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