An important factor in determining how well you age is how active you are, according to the Mayo Clinic. The world renowned not-for-profit institution recommends 150 minutes of moderate intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous activity per week. For those of us that may struggle with math, 150 minutes per week is 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week! Yet, based on Mayo Clinic's findings, 60% percent of older adults (non-older adults?, younger adults?) don't hit the 30 minute threshold 5 days per week.1 That’s where fitness trackers – wearable devices and apps that monitor physical activity and other health factors can make a difference - or a pen and a pocket calendar. A study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology suggests that people who wear activity monitors and use them to ensure they get about 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week have about a 35% lower likelihood of premature death than those who get less exercise.2
That makes a pretty compelling case for tracking your every move! Fitness trackers not only help you incorporate a broad range of healthy habits into your daily routine but provide helpful reminders to get up and move or drink more water throughout the day.
Below are five ways fitness trackers (or pen and paper) can help individuals pursue a healthier lifestyle in prior to and in retirement:
- Track vital stats. Today’s most sophisticated trackers monitor heart rate, sleep and other important health factors. Some claim to even help detect health problems like heart arrhythmia and sleep apnea.3
- Set personal goals. Fitness trackers connect to apps on your smartphone or tablet and allow you to establish and track a broad range of fitness goals. You can keep your goals private or share them with friends. Or just write them down on paper.
- Make social connections. Join friends, family members or private online groups to compete, motivate and encourage each other. You may even make new friends by connecting with local users with similar interests.
- Access the latest health news and tips. Tracker apps offer broad access to health news, recipes and eating plans, customized yoga and exercise videos, and even personal coaches to help you stay motivated.
- Celebrate your accomplishments. Alerts and notifications keep you motivated by celebrating your achievements from reaching small daily and weekly goals for steps, calories, exercise, sleep, and water intake to achieving longer-term milestones such as weight loss or miles walked over the course of a month or year.
Whether you prefer an activity band, watch, or pen and paper there’s no question that the ability to track and view your progress can be a highly motivating factor for building on your accomplishments and maintaining a healthier lifestyle to chase around the kids and grandkids.
Local malls, schools and other indoor facilities often support walking. Start small and build up to 30 minutes over time!
Wishing you continued success in pursuing your life goals.