If you don’t already have one, I can guarantee that you know somebody who does have a step tracker.
They come in all shapes and sizes, starting from free apps that you can download on your phone to expensive wrist bands that monitor your heart rate and your every move.
So, what do you need to know and do you need one? As a Fitbit user myself (other brands are of course available) the answer to the above question would be yes and here’s why I think so:
- It makes us accountable to ourselves and helps us strive to reach a goal each day. Whatever number of steps you set your target at, whether it be 6k, 10k or 30k, you take it upon yourself to make sure that you have completed those steps by the end of your day, even if it does mean running up and down the stairs 10 times before bed.
Not only is this a great way to start setting small goals for yourself but the feeling of achievement each day when your tracker starts buzzing at you will give you the motivation to set yourself new goals.
- It reminds us of the important of NEAT for weight loss and general well-being. For us, as personal trainers, we can’t stress how important NEAT is to achieve your weight loss goals.
It’s great coming to see us for an hour and sweating your guts out but if you go home and slump on the sofa for the rest of the day, you are likely to be left feeling disappointed with the outcome of your gym efforts.
NEAT stands for non-exercise activity thermogenesis and refers to the energy expenditure generated from anything we do that is not sleeping, eating or sports related. You guessed it, steps are a great one to increase NEAT and these can come in any form.
Try getting off the tube 2 stops early and walk the rest of the commute to work, ditch the lift and take the stairs, take the dog on an extra walk, walk the kids to school, the list of opportunities for NEAT in the day is endless but I won’t go on.
- It can create a community. With most fitness trackers, you can add friends who also have similar devices which allows you to send messages of motivation, cheer them on or just generally have a sneaky peak at what they’ve been up to spark up your competitive streak.
Daily steps can become an office thing as well, get your work colleagues involved and see who can step the most.
- It can tell you a lot about your sleep. Most fitness trackers will also monitor your sleep, providing you with detailed information about waking and sleeping periods, hours of sleep and quality of sleep.
- It can increase work productivity and lower stress levels. Without knowing it, most of us will sit at our desks and before we look at the clock it’s lunchtime, not having moved from or desk in 4 hours.
Whilst often necessary to meet the demands of work, it’s not good for our body to be still for such long periods of time.
Make sure you get up and walk around, even to make a cup of tea or grab a glass of water every 30-40 minutes to stretch your muscles and giving yourself a much-needed mental break that your mind and body will only thank you for.
If you’re not already on your way to purchasing a fitness tracker, in my opinion it’s worth considering to take the first steps in the right direction to a better, more healthy and active you.
• Tilly Kyle is an personal trainer and exercise specialist at The Better Body Group in Sevenoaks.