Fitness trackers, devices that can measure your physical activity, are amazing gadgets that can increase wellness for Americans. If the entire nation would use fitness trackers, America would undergo a health renaissance. Three ways fitness trackers would solve America’s health problems would be reducing obesity, reducing cardiovascular issues, and increasing positive mental health.
Trackers to lose weight
Fitness trackers (I use FitBit One) are fancy pedometers that track the amount of walking you do, how vigorously you do it, and gathers all that data into useful graphs on a website.
The key to these trackers is to make you aware of your movement, or lack thereof. Competition breeds success and fitness trackers allow you to compete with others who have the device.
Health books (like Sitting Kills, Moving Heals) suggest that daily walking can help maintain a healthy body weight along with improving overall wellness.
Having used my fitness tracker for two years, I can attest that it has increased my understanding of activity and has altered my habits. If I sit too long, I know to get up and do some moving around. Walking the dog is not a chore but a way to help goose my step count and keep my weight in check.
If all Americans used such a tracker, I imagine a much healthier country with fewer weight issues.
Walking to help the heart
We all know the images of people on a treadmill, pounding the machine, and pouring sweat. Such exertion is excellent cardiovascular conditioning. But we can’t run all day, and some experience joint pain from running.
The beauty of simply getting up and walking is that everyone can do it. Using a tracker, you can quickly accumulate steps.
The American Heart Association recommends 10,000 daily steps and states that 30 minutes of daily walking can reduce a person’s risk for heart disease. What is there to lose?
Simple walking can help keep hearts healthy. That could mean fewer people on expensive medication, fewer expensive medical tests, and lower healthcare costs. And of course, fighting off heart disease will make your life more productive.
Walking to boost mood
I love my daily walks outside. The natural light and clean air boost my mood. Oftentimes, my mind generates numerous ideas upon my return from the outdoors. I use my walks as part of my daily health routine, as a mood booster, and idea generator. And what drives me further to get outside? It is another way for my fitness tracker to register my activity!
Kelly McGonigal writes how just five minutes outside can boost mood. A ten-minute walk after each meal would be a wonderful way increase your step count and boost your mental outlook and moodIf fitness trackers can motivate people to take their walking outdoors then people will reap mental health benefits in addition to physical ones!
Getting Americans Onboard
I applaud fitness tracker companies and their devices. I would encourage local, state, and federal governments to look at supporting healthy lifestyles that include the use of fitness trackers. For a fraction of the cost of nationalized healthcare, government could launch a national fitness campaign to increase awareness of getting 10,000 daily steps and how trackers can help.
Health insurance companies could launch wellness programs that provide people with fitness trackers and reward those who walk at least 10,000 daily steps. People who are active should receive health premium deductions. This would provide a financial incentive to purchase and use fitness trackers.
There are no downsides to using these wonderful fitness gadgets. If more Americans would use the devices then we would be on the road to solving our national problems of obesity, heart issues, and instances of mild depression.
This is one technological advance that is helping fight our modern sedentary lifestyle.
‘Sitting Kill, Moving Heals’ — Joan Vernikos
‘Why Start Walking?’ — The American Heart Association
‘The Science of Will Power’ — Psychology Today