Wearable devices, fitness apps and a dozen more ways in which you can monitor a runner’s health, but when does it all become too much, ask Nandini Reddy.
So did you strap on your wearable device the moment you jumped out of bed? Logging in hours slept, monitoring water intake, counting steps, tracking heart rate, calculating calories and walking the extra mile to meal goals sets. Ever since wearable devices became a fitness trend. All of us have been guilty of doing this – even me! But when does it become too much?
I am not against the FitBits and Garmins of the world and I do know that they are a great way to track your health but when tracking becomes obsessions and if you are getting more upset than happy using the device then it cannot be a good thing right?
The Dark Side of Health Trackers
Have you ever run a marathon and used a different app to track your run. I did that once and noticed that even though both of us started and stopped at the same point, I had run 9.7kms and my friend had run 10.2kms. My app didn’t congratulate me on reaching the 10k mark and felt more than a little deflated. But it didn’t make sense because we had run the same track and in the same time and yet we didn’t achieve the same encouragement from the health apps.
The next victim of tracking was my sleep. I was so intent on getting the right curve and the congratulatory note for achieving the right amount of sleep that I couldn’t have slept worse. The stress of sleeping right overwhelmed me and if I slept deep woke up refreshed with 5 hours before, now I was feeling worse for the wear with 7 hours of shut eye.
Heart rate tracking became another obsession ever since I read that interval training can work wonders when you want to lose weight. But that meant constantly interrupting a perfectly good workout to check if my heart rate hit the goal mark.
How do you use them better?
Health tracking is not all bad if you know how to use them properly. They do help you get fit if you use them right. So instead of letting it rule you, make it a way to change habits.
- Forget the calorie counting – Trackers have approximated calories and most may not store all the food options that you consume based on your local preferences.Also they never take into count that with regular movement you will be losing calories but they never get accounted for. So instead of counting calories set nutrition goals that you want to meet in terms of protein, carbs and fibre for the day.
- Adjust daily goals –Do not use the preset goals. Your lifestyle may require different goals. Compare each week to see if you have found the right mix. It may take a while before you finalized on the set of daily goals that works for you, until then its perfectly find to make tweaks and adjustments.
- Focus on movement – Avoiding being sedentary is more important than counting steps. Most of us have desk jobs that require us to sit for hours. So try and make it a habit to do desk stretches or just stand up and take a walk to water cooler every hour. The idea is to move for 5 mins every hour and your health tracker can be set to prompt you to do the same.
- Work with small challenges – The fitness tracker should be used to create new habits that are good for your fitness regime. If you want to really make a change then instead of concentrating on recording everything try and set challenges for yourself. It may be about walking or running 10k three times a week. You can even set targets like the number of floors you will walk up every day.
- Find a friend – Health apps generally allow you to train and track progress with friends. When you know others are watching your progress you tend to be less lazy. It also works as encouragement when they congratulate you when you achieve set goals.
Health trackers themselves are improving so it all works to syncing the device to your fitness requirements instead of the other way round