The One Thing You Need to Improve Your Health
Sure there are plenty of great things that can change your life. But when we talk about our health, there is one thing that can help all of us, no matter what our current level of fitness, to achieve our own healthy lifestyle. This one thing has the power to tell you when you’ve been sitting too long, how many nightmares have woken you up causing you to have a restless evening, and yes, how many calories you’ve eaten in a day. If you’ve guessed that I’m talking about an app, you’re semi-right. It’s more about what we are wearing or in other words… wearables.
If you search “wearables,” news and articles will pop up that are centered on the debate of which is better: smartphones or smartwatches. I think the two should be used in conjunction with one another, just like The Polar Loop uses a smart watch to sync data with its app at the end of the day. You can actually see how long and what type of movement you did throughout the day. The numbers (as they say) do not lie. You can fool yourself by subconsciously omitting that fun-size candy bar on your food diary, but you can’t fool The Loop when it comes to movement. In fact, it will let you know just how long you spent sitting and completely sedentary and according to Apple’s CEO Tim Cook, “sitting is the new cancer.” Might be harsh, but the underlying message here is if you’re moving, that’s a good thing, and wearables like the Loop or Fitbit know and keep you on track.
I want to point out that using a food diary or a food log app isn’t bad at all. In fact, I encourage it! I have been selling food and exercise logs on my site since I launched my company Shannon Miller Lifestyle. However, it’s good to adapt, and after speaking at the International Consumer Electronics show (CES) in Las Vegas last year, I am more passionate than ever about the new wearables movement! Take a look at emerging apparel startup, Sensilk. On their website, North Face Founder Hap Klopp says, “Fabric will generate more data than devices in ten years, and Sensilk’s technology and team are at the forefront to collect that data and use it to improve lives.”
Sensilk. Smart Clothing. Smarter Living from Sensilk on Vimeo.
So where to begin? Below are the basics to my fitness regime. Take what is applicable in your life, and get started!
- Set modest goals– Choose a goal that’s right for you, and make sure it’s achievable. For example, aim to simply work out three days per week, or walk 10,000 steps per day or run your first 5K. By starting small you’ll feel good about the milestones you reach, and you’ll feel encouraged to continue setting goals.
- Know your numbers– Using an activity tracker with apps like MyFitnessPal lets you see calorie intake and daily activity together so you can keep an eye on your progress. Knowing more about your health habits allows you to make smarter decisions about your training and diet so you can achieve your goals.
- Find a buddy– Working out by yourself can be fun and rewarding, but training with a friend can give you some added motivation and keep you honest about what you are doing and also what you’re not. Not sure who’s trying to get in shape? Many apps like Polar Flow allow you to see the workouts of people in your area. You can easily find a running buddy in your neighborhood with similar goals and abilities.
- Listen to your body– Data from fitness trackers helps you find the perfect balance of training and recovery so you can learn about your body and improve faster. Here’s my secret tip: using an activity tracker with a heart rate monitor, like my Polar Loop, helps you understand heart rate zones so you know when to pick up the pace or take it down a notch depending on your fitness goals—it’s that simple.
Wearing a tracker or using an app in conjunction with another wearable is a positive way to stay on track and understand your personal pitfalls, not undermine yourself. Don’t beat yourself up when you eat that candy bar (YES, log it!) or when you only walk a mile instead of running five. Don’t get lost in the mistakes; focus on the big picture. One candy bar will not derail your health just like one salad doesn’t make you healthy. Remember, it’s not a fad, it’s a lifestyle. Have you been healthy 80 percent of the week? Don’t guess, just look on your app or at your data. Sometimes we need to see the numbers in order to be truly honest with ourselves. Accountability is key. You’ve got this!!