It’s common knowledge that an inactive and sedentary lifestyle is a sure way to trim years off your life. However, only recently has research been able to confirm that your job is a silent killer, assuming you’re sitting at a desk for much of the day. And although many of us try to squeeze in a workout or two a week, the studies also indicate that it’s not necessarily enough to offset the consequences of a sedentary lifestyle.
Experts say that the cure is very simple and recommend we aim for 10,000 daily steps as a goal and fulfill that goal by moving throughout the day. To be motivated and reminded of this goal, using a step counter is an easy way to keep yourself on the path of being consistently active and beating that silent killer.
Recent technology advancements in step counting have made these devices barely resemble the pedometers you grew up with. One of the market leaders in the new type of step counters is the Fitbit Wireless Activity Tracker.
The popularity of Fitbit trackers seems to be driven by their ability to create a fun fitness experience by providing a small, sleek, high-tech device (containing a 3D accelerometer and altimeter) with a fun and helpful online experience. The tracker is small and comfortable to wear (no one can see it), and the displays provide real-time stats on your fitness. The device wirelessly uploads, so people don’t have to manually enter their information online. On Fitbit.com, users can set and track fitness goals, compete and share fitness achievements with friends, win badges for achieving daily and cumulative goals and track their progress in real time.
With the constant battle against the bulge, why not build healthy active habits now? Here are a few tips to build in a more active lifestyle without devoting hours each week to working out.
* Buy a step tracker that fits with your lifestyle and is easy for you to use. Find one with a real-time display to motivate you to move throughout the day. Track your steps for a week to get an accurate sense of your activity level.
* If you are consistently below 3,000 steps per day, track when and where you are most sedentary. If it is during the work hours, consider walking around for 5 minutes every hour. And if you are able to take breaks, try getting out for a walk rather than sitting.
* If you are in the 7,000 to 10,000 range daily, consider a few minor changes to build those extra steps and establish long-term healthy habits like parking farther away and taking the stairs instead of the elevator.
* Consider taking the stairs when you can, as studies have proven that regular stair climbing has significant health benefits. A good place to start is climbing three more flights of stairs than you usually do each day. Fitbit Ultra has a setting that tracks stair climbing so you can track this fitness metric as well as distance, steps and calories burned.
* Commit yourself to a long term stair-climbing goal, like climbing 10,000 stairs for a month or 100,000 stairs by Thanksgiving. While psychologist may disagree on how many days it takes to form a good habit, all would agree it takes more than a week’s commitment. Fitbit.com can track how many steps you have taken daily, monthly or cumulatively.
Once you have established a goal that’s easy to track, you’ll be much more likely to reach the fitness level that will help you live a long and healthy life.