New to Tracking? Here’s Some Tips on How to Get Started

After selecting the activity tracker that best suits your wallet and your lifestyle, this unbelievably cool gadget is finally in your hands. You might be the first of your friends to have one and you’re eager to put it to work for you. STOP! Before you get started, there are some things that you absolutely need to know to make sure that your tracking career isn’t short-lived.

Don’t Lose It…or Drown It

You want to lose excess pounds and body fat, but you certainly don’t want to lose your tracker! The beauty of an activity tracker is that it’s so small and inconspicuous, you can literally “wear it and forget it,” but that’s also its biggest problem. Some tiny clip-on trackers can (and do) fall off your clothing without you even realizing it. So here are some tips on how to make sure that you and your tracker don’t part ways:

  • Before you leave the house, double check that your tracker is securely attached to your clothing, belt, bra or shoe. Jump up and down a few times to make sure that your tracker doesn’t get dislodged when you move around.
  • If you’re wearing a wristband, move your arm around to make sure that your tracker doesn’t slide off.
  • Most importantly, at the end of the day, be sure to remove the tracker from your clothing.  It’s not uncommon for trackers to end up in the wash. Even those that are waterproof may not survive a wash-spin-dry cycle.

Your First Day Tracking: Wear It And Forget It 

Before you begin your first day of tracking, guess how many steps you walk on a typical day. Write that number down – you’ll be looking at it again later.

Put on your tracker and go about your normal day so you can get an accurate picture of your life. Be sure to start on a day that reflects how you typically spend your time, whether it’s commuting to work, sitting in meetings, chauffeuring the kids to and from their activities, or being holed up in your home office. You may be tempted to “perform” for the tracker, that is, go out of your way to walk extra steps, engage in more physical activity than usual and avoid sitting still. On your first day wearing a tracker, you want to get an accurate picture of how active — or inactive — you really are. The purpose of wearing a tracker is to help you see your real behavior so that you can identify your activity patterns and provide motivation to reach your fitness goals.  This new understanding of yourself will better enable you to set goals that are both beneficial and realistic.

To get a true picture of who you are, and how you behave when no one else is watching, don’t look at your data for an entire day. That means not glancing down at the tracker to see your step count or accessing your data from an app or website.

At the end of the day, review your data that was automatically collected by your tracker and is available on your computer or smartphone.

For now, just focus on your step count. Go back to your initial estimate that you wrote down in the morning. Many of you will be disappointed, if not horrified, by your actual results. In fact, when confronted with the real numbers, most people are stunned by how sedentary their lives have become.

Unless you’re wearing an activity tracker, there’s no way that you can know how many steps you walk everyday, or more importantly, whether you’re engaging in enough physical activity.

If you spent most of your day sitting, you’re not alone. On average, Americans spend about 50-60% of our waking hours off our feet – sitting at a desk, in a car, or on a couch. Once you begin tracking and paying attention to what you’re doing, you’ll be surprised at how fast you can move from a sluggish lifestyle to an active one.

Want to know what your step count says about your life and prospects for the future?   Know Thyself, Know Your Step Count.