Get the Most out of Your Fitness Tracker: 5 Common Mistakes to Avoid

A fitness tracker is a convenient and multifaceted tool that helps you keep track of your health and reach your wellness goals. Wearable trackers are designed to help you stay aware of how active you are, what you eat, how many hours you sleep and more. However, it doesn’t do everything for you. You still have to be actively involved in the tracking process to ensure your data is accurate. That being said, here are five common mistakes to avoid, so you can get the most out of your fitness tracker:

You Don’t Know Your Tracker Type

Not all trackers are the same, so you need to find the right wearable for what you’re trying to do. If you want a tracker that counts your steps and active minutes, go with a simpler model like the Misfit Ray. This tracker records all of your activity, but doesn’t allow for much customization. If you need to monitor your heart activity as well as your daily and fitness activities, go for a fitness wearable like the Fitbit Charge 2. It is the perfect digital accessory for athletes and those who are focused on staying heart-healthy. The Fitbit Charge 2 has a multifaceted data profile that keeps track of sleep-time, heart rate, calorie burn, activity, steps and calorie intake (when entered by user). The Samsung Gear S3 classic gives you the aesthetics of traditional timepiece but allows you to stay connected and track activity without your smartphone.

You Don’t Have a Profile

Many wearable users make the mistake of not setting up a fitness tracker profile. It is important that you put in your personal information, especially height and weight, so you will get a more accurate count on activity metrics. Some trackers also take into account your gender and age. The more information you tracker has, the more it can be integrated into your lifestyle and help you reach your goals.

You Set Goals Before Looking at Your Data

When you first set up your fitness tracker, you may be tempted to immediately set goals for yourself. These may include steps per day, weight loss, hours of sleep and calorie intake. However, by doing it this way you are more likely to overshoot or set goals that aren’t doable, which can result in you giving up on them. Instead, you should first collect data by using the fitness tracker for about a week. Then you can establish achievable benchmarks and set realistic goals.

You’re Doing it Alone

When you are trying to reach your wellness goals, it is helpful to have your friends and family hold you accountable. Share your fitness tracker profile with any family or friends who have the same wearable as you, so you can encourage and support one another. Many platforms let you challenge other users in a contest to see who can get the most steps in a day, weekend or work week. The competitive aspect is a great motivator for you to up your regular step count and bolster your activity.

You Didn’t Calibrate Your Tracker

While most fitness trackers automatically set an estimated pace and length of your stride, you shouldn’t trust their accuracy out of the box. Make sure to calibrate your tracker, as stride lengths vary for every person, even when they’re the same height. Also be sure to calibrate the device when you are walking at a regular pace, rather than speed walking or running, to get a more accurate estimate.