Exercise can benefit your physical and mental health by strengthening your immune system and making you become more resilient against the effects of this pandemic. It’s never too late to start your fitness journey. You just need to have the right mindset, approach, and tools so you can be at your best health, soon.
However, exercising at home for one and a half years can be a great challenge for some long-term exercisers when it comes to exercise motivation and consistency. That’s why we always need to find ways to move so we can sustain an active lifestyle which is essential to our survival.
As a fitness coach, I keep myself motivated to exercise on a daily basis by choosing an exercise playlist based on my moods, by modifying my exercise moves for variety, and using a fitness tracker to monitor my exercise performance. A fitness tracker helps creates essential information about my exercise intensity (average heart rate) and energy expenditure (calorie burn) so I can stay consistent with the desired workout intensity, especially when I teach my fitness classes, to give participants a balanced workout experience.
Here are the most important benefits of a fitness tracker and how you can effectively use it to achieve your fitness and health goals.
Improved exercise motivation with exercise progress
One of the best ways to sustain your exercise motivation is to see results after all your hard work. Aside from feeling good about yourself after an intense workout session, you can track your exercise progress by checking your current exercise performance (exercise duration, average heart rate, and calories).
Charly Yuhico, 44, Vice President of Viva Music and Artists Group, Inc., developed a new exercise perspective ever since she started using a Garmin watch in 2016. Sometimes, she texts me about her high-calorie burn right after our cardio + strength class or indoor cycling class.
Charly shared how a fitness tracker keeps her motivation and energy level after all these years. “In the same way that a new and cute exercise outfit can motivate you to workout, I find that a fitness tracker has the same effects on your workouts. It really helps establish consistency and motivates you not to skip a day.”
She notes, “Added bonus if you’re the type of person who likes to analyze numbers and data. Aside from knowing how many times a week you’ve worked out, you can see how intense each workout was, compare it to previous weeks and even measure improvements over time. You can also upload your results to activity/training websites and share your week’s activities with friends. It’s a great tool to use to ensure exercise continues to be an essential part of your life.”
Balanced and safe workout
A fitness tracker can help create balance in your current exercise routine. Knowing and doing the appropriate volume of exercise that matches your food intake, fitness goals and health condition can help you to avoid overexercising which can lead to overeating and exercise injuries. You can always check your heart rate during a workout session and see if you are exerting too much, so you can always take a break and resume once you’re within the target heart rate, which is based on your age.
Malou Fores, 56, chef/restaurateur, Mamou, who has been training with me for two decades, remains consistent with her workouts by always finding the balance in her weekly routine. She got her Apple Watch early this year that makes her more motivated to continue her workouts like strength training, Ashtanga yoga, tennis, swimming, brisk walking, and hiking.
“My fitness watch has motivated me to move and be active and reminded me that I could do better than I what did the day/week/ or even month ago. It’s wonderful to be able to measure my improvements while visualizing my health and fitness goals. It also prevents me from overworking my body, so I don’t injure myself by pushing too hard,” Malou explains.
Effective weight management
You can use your fitness tracker to achieve your weight goals by monitoring your calorie burn. It can help you choose the correct exercises that can help achieve your calorie burn target. Calorie burn depends on your weight (heavier weight, higher burn) and heart rate (higher heart rate, higher burn). A pound of fat is equivalent to 3,500 calories. If you can burn 300 calories a day, six days a week (2,100 calories) from formal workouts, then you can already lose half a pound per week from exercise only. The other half of the equation is your food intake. You can still lose additional weight per week by controlling the quantity and quality of your food.
Anna Tayag, 44, housewife, enjoys using her fitness tracker to achieve her fitness and weight goals. She loves trying different workouts to keep her motivated. Last month, we started discussing how she can maximize the use of her fitness tracker by balancing her exercise with her food intake.
Anna shares, “The fitness tracker has helped me a lot! I remember when I first got the 1st gen Apple Watch and realized I could no longer work out without using one. Now I have a Xiaomi mi smart band 6 watch. I’m not guessing anymore and know exactly how many calories I burned for each of my activities. With it, I can gauge if I’m under or over-exerting myself by tracking my heart rate. It keeps a record of all my strength and cardio workouts also for the year. Knowing how many calories I burned per workout per day, keeps my food intake count in check. I feel good when I eat, knowing that I need to fuel my body after a hard workout.”
Improved sports performance
Consider other fitness tracker features that are compatible with your sports so you can effectively track, analyze and improve your performance. If you are a runner, get a watch that has advanced features like a built-in GPS. If you swim, choose a waterproof watch with a lap counter.
Kat Luna-Abelarde, 47, corporate executive at PLDT, and triathlete, used to join triathlons and run races before the pandemic. I started seeing her for lifestyle coaching this year to find balance in her eating and exercise (indoor and outdoor cycling, yoga, or strength training) so can she can continue to achieve her fitness goals.
Kat says, “I have been using sports watches for over 10 years but primarily for competitive training purposes. In the last few years though, and especially during the pandemic, I started to practice a more mindful, and holistic approach to wellness.”
She adds, “I learned to appreciate all kinds of movement plus the value of nutrition. The Apple fitness tracker keeps me accountable for all of these aspects of health: from the most basic, breathing and standing to the more complicated ECG, VO2Max and HRV. It’s convenient, simple, and data-rich. I have set aside all my mechanical watches. Maybe I should put them up for sale soon.”
Sustainable healthy lifestyle
Aside from the formal exercise sessions discussed, it is also important to make lifestyle activities consistent, like moving around the house, walking leisurely, or doing errands to accumulate a certain number of steps (at least 7,000 steps a day). You can get even a very simple fitness tracker that can measure your number of steps, heart rate, and calories burned. Always finding an opportunity to move as a habit, having a fitness routine, eating a well-balanced diet, and getting enough rest and sleep will definitely create wonders for your health long-term.
Pia Abuel-Ang, 48, Agricultural Specialist, USDA, has been exercising for years. We used to join full marathons years ago and I have witnessed how her goals have progressed from weight loss, beating her personal best, and now sustaining a healthy lifestyle.
Pia mentions, “Using a fitness tracker helps me validate how I’m actually doing. After a good night’s sleep and I feel well-rested, checking my sleep score on the fitness tracker helps confirm this.
“I also use the fitness tracker to monitor my heart rate, to see if I am working out in my fat burning or cardio state. Seeing my resting heart rate go down and seeing my fitness levels improve makes me happy and keeps me motivated. Have been using a Fitbit watch for over four years now and having a record of my daily activities (i.e., steps, calories burned, exercise) lets me know if I need to do more to maintain my health. For me, it’s been an indispensable tool to help me reach my goals,” she explains.