Written by Ashley Dennis, Outreach and Wellness Coordinator
Who doesn’t love a great competition? For those of us with a competitive streak -of which I am one- goal setting is a primary reason we invest in fitness trackers. When tracking your activity on your device during walking, hiking or a HIIT class, fitness trackers award our progress with little badges or icons that we can collect. We are able to share these badges on social media platforms with friends and family, but there is also a certain satisfaction to receiving an automated ‘pat on the back’ just between yourself and your device.
Fitness trackers that record your achievements will often encourage the user to keep pushing their goals. Apple watches prompt you to set your movement or step goal, and once you hit that goal for a certain number of days within a certain amount of time, the device will ask if you want to up your goal.
When it comes to exercise, many of us are creatures of habit. However, the brain and body benefit from mixing up exercise routines. Not only does it prevent boredom, but different types of physical activity recruit different muscles. Mixing up your routine allows time for certain muscles to recover while utilizing muscles that need to be worked. This happens with even small changes such as running on a treadmill verses running outside on a trail.
If you have a fitness tracker, I encourage you to try and collect some new badges by upping your goals and trying new types of physical activity. If you don’t have a fitness tracker, you can make your own! Start by tracking your daily physical activity using the Physical Activity Diary from the CDC. When you do your first biking workout or walk your fastest mile, reward yourself by marking that workout with a sticker! While some of us may be participating in virtual exercise these days, it's nice to have that extra motivation that pushes us forward in our fitness journey.