5 Ways Gadgets Can Help You Lose Weight
Looking for a weight loss partner? Look no further. Fitness devices like BodyMedia Fit, FitBit Flex, Jawbone Up, or Nike+ Fuelband could be exactly what you need. People who track are more successful at losing weight. And these wearable devices are trackers on steroids -- monitoring your workouts, counting your calories, evaluating your sleep, and tracking your progress as you slim down.
1. Tracking Your Every Move
If you're just starting a weight loss plan, it's enough to know the number of steps you take each day or how many minutes you were active, says Natalie Digate Muth, MD, a spokeswoman for the American Council on Exercise.
"Keep it simple," she recommends. "Just moving more is a great goal."
When you're ready for a bit more, compare your tracked numbers against exercise goals you've set for yourself. For instance, you may be working to increase 10,000 steps a day to 12,000 -- an excellent goal for fitness and weight loss.
You can use your device to:
- See how close you get to your target goal each day or if you crushed it!
- Set a smaller, shorter-term goal so you'll feel successful right away; doing so will help you to stay focused.
- Send yourself reminders to move if you've been sitting too long. (This is an excellent way to give yourself a jolt to help you break that bad habit.) If your device doesn't have this feature, send reminders via your cell phone.
Once you've been exercising awhile, think about using your device to track a workout's intensity. To do that, look at the number of calories you burn and how they increase over time. Or check how long it takes to burn a certain number of calories and work on shortening it.
Most devices have an app for charting intensity over time. That can give you a real sense of progress. "It can be really eye opening," Muth says.
Remember, some devices are less accurate at tracking certain exercises, such as strength training or biking. So you'll need to record them differently. Most fitness devices let you enter the info into your tracker's app manually -- the type of exercise, how long you did it, and how hard you pushed yourself.
2. Everything Counts
You burn calories even when you aren't running, cycling, or swimming. You also burn calories via NEAT, which stands for non-exercise activity thermogenesis.
That’s a wordy way to describe things like folding laundry, vacuuming, casual walking, gardening, and more. They’re not exercise, but they do get you moving and burn calories.
Regular exercise is still crucial, but you may find it easier to bump up these types of activities than to add additional trips to the gym or 40-minute power walks.