So, you’ve unwrapped your new fitness tracker – but before you start racking up those steps/miles, check out our guide below on how to use it. It might be worth a quick glance at part 1 of our guide here, too.
To follow up our Newcastle Sports Injury blog about fitness trackers here, we have compiled a list of the top nine things to bear in mind when using a fitness tracker which will make sure you get the most from your newest gadget.
If you follow these, your fitness tracker will provide a great aid to sustainable fitness, without risking injury:
- Concentrate on your own goals
A little competition is motivational and healthy, but don’t let it dominate your thoughts. Work to your own targets and don’t worry about what other people are doing.
- Don’t boom and bust
Trackers could encourage a ‘boom and bust’ approach to exercise. Don’t be the person that chases very high volumes of exercise in January and this fades out by Easter. Sport, fitness and exercise should be a lifestyle change that can be easily maintained.
- Be sensible about your targets
Keep it realistic! If you have targets to hit, keep them achievable. It is more rewarding to hit sensible targets frequently, than to struggle to hit unachievable ones. You can always increase difficulty levels gradually as you go along, if you need to.
- Quality is key
Quality is key: avoid chasing specific targets without an underlying attention to sound movement mechanics. For example, the fitness tracker cannot advise you on whether your rowing technique involves good form, nor if your running gait is causing problems elsewhere.
- Know when to stop or slow down
Listen to your body. While it is essential to push yourself to make improvements, don’t go too far beyond your comfort zone, especially if you are new to exercise. Do not forget the importance of rest, which helps to rebuild those tiny tears in muscles caused by strength training and helps to ensure you are appropriately prepared for the next good-quality session.
- Stay hydrated, and warm up and warm down properly
These may seem like common sense, but don’t ignore the essentials of exercise sessions in your eagerness to clock up extra miles.
- Don’t dive in without being prepared
Avoid throwing yourself into exercise programmes without an overview of your current physical condition. Our physios carry out musculoskeletal screening. Physio is not just about treating injuries. A large part of what we do is assessing a patient’s physical condition. This can help to ensure that your risk of getting injured is minimised.
- Don’t ignore your core
Fitness trackers cannot monitor your core: trackers rely on movement, whereas core exercises, such as the plank, rely on stability and minimal movement. They therefore cannot assess or monitor your core control. Whatever your targets, an attention to this area is vital both for performance, fitness and injury prevention. That’s when yoga and Pilates can be invaluable.
- Injured? Niggle? Seek professional help!
This is most important of all. If you have an injury, seek help as quickly as possible. Continuing to do exercise whilst injured can frequently cause the body to compensate in other ways, leading to bigger problems further down the line. A good physiotherapist will help keep you moving. Contact us here for advice if needed.