Edmonds Fitness Corner: Wearable devices connect community through exercise

Pritam Potts
Pritam Potts

The other day when I hit my step goal, my accomplishment was cheered by quite a few of my clients and friends. Yet no one was waiting at the end of a finish line for me to step across. It all occurred virtually, because we’re all owners of a Fitbit product, and consequently part of our own little connected fitness community.

Some of us don’t tend to have any problems getting out and exercising. In my case, because of my work, I’ve made it an integral part of my daily routine. Yet most of us struggle to carve out time and energy to exercise regularly and for a long enough time to see the benefits. I’m a relative latecomer to the wearable tracking device craze, but I have become a huge convert for the benefits it has proven to hold not just for my clients, but also for myself:

Awareness–I believe change starts with awareness and I have counseled hundreds of athletes and clients as such. Despite debate over the accuracy of wearable tracking devices, no can argue that seeing your steps and distance over the course of a day isn’t extremely enlightening on how much you actually move! It really makes you think and push yourself to reach your goals.

Support–Via the Fitbit app, my friends and I can participate in “challenges” with each other and see things like our rankings amongst our friends, as well as “cheer,” “taunt” and message each other. Just when you think you’re the only one marching up and down the hallway at 8 p.m. at night to make your steps for that day, you realize someone else has done it at some point!

Competition—The competition factor with your friends is there if that motivates you, but I am a bigger believer in supporting each other rather than trying to outdo each other. The only challenge I issue to my Fitbit friends is to meet their own individual step goal. I love seeing the alerts when everyone is cheering everyone else’s progress in a challenge!

Statistics—The stats generated by the Fitbit app are fairly amazing. It’s so easy to see how your activity levels differ depending on factors like day of the week, weather, caloric intake or even sleep patterns if your tracker has that option. Armed with that information, you can change habits and make choices that keep you moving and healthy.

Consistency—To truly experience the benefits of a wearable tracking device, you need to wear it most if not all of the time. It helps you stay focused and on track every single day. Of course, you still have to actually get out there and walk/run/exercise. But it’s nice to be cheered for it!

Not into purchasing a wearable tracker? Check out MyFitnessPal, MapMyFitness, Endomondo, SparkPeople and DailyBurn, all popular online fitness and healthy living communities/apps.

Pritam Potts, owner of Advanced Athlete LLC, is a NSCA-certified trainer and strength coach with 12+ years of experience working with athletes and clients of all ages. Her specialty is in functional strength applications, developing core and overall strength and coordination specifically for the purpose of enhancing the body’s ability to function optimally and safely in athletic movement. Connect online at www.facebook.com/mrsathlete and www.twitter.com/mrsathlete.

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