As a former group fitness instructor in the 90s, I was skeptical when wearable technology came onto the market. I remember mixing my own tapes for aerobics music, then graduating to making CDs. At the time, I was not one to jump onto new technology, like downloadable playlists when they first came out (I know, hard to imagine!). When I realized how easy fitness technology was to use, I learned to embrace changes and try new things. Now I encourage others to lean into apps and technology as they create their own goals.
As I reflected upon the last year and focused forward into hopes and possibilities for the new year, I took time to glance back at my fitness goals and successes. I was happy to see my progress over the year one thing that helped me was allowing wearable technology to keep track of statistics as I focused on my physiological cues and milestones.
In addition to checking my stats every now and then, it is really fun for me to see badges and achieved challenges on my fitness trackers. It sounds simple, but it is a reward system that has been successful in many areas of health and wellness. In fact, ". . . behavioral therapy techniques are often used to help with developing new skills, connecting the steps required to complete a task, and rewarding desired behavior. . ." so it is ideal for exercisers. Peloton, for example, is known for motivating challenges they provide to exercisers. I was motivated by Peloton's The Annual challenge and set a goal to earn at least 2,000 minutes of Peloton workouts in about five months. Seeing the badge in the achieved category in my profile provided me with a sense of pride for reaching and exceeding my goal.
Then, I was excited to see the Finish Strong badge on my Garmin that celebrated my New Year's Eve workout (I didn't even know that was a thing!).
This propelled me to start the year out with exercise and celebrate my accomplishments so I went for a run and earned Garmin's Start Strong badge.
These are just a few examples of how wearable technology can provide simple cues to help us keep going. The statistics are informative, too. If you are confused about how to interpret the statistics, talk with a certified personal trainer to gain an understanding of what the numbers mean for your own fitness journey.
When people talk with me about setting new goals, I encourage them to focus on why they want to achieve their goals and then help them find ways to enhance their goals. Understanding the why behind goals takes reflection so why not allow technology to do it's job while you focus on developing the psychological mindset for success?
Once you find yourself in a routine, remember to leave downtime and allow yourself to recover. Sleep and relaxation are keys to helping your mind and body prepare for managing stress and ongoing exercise. Some people feel very aware of their circadian rhythms while others are less in touch with their need for rest. I have found my Oura Ring cues especially helpful when I have tough workouts and want to know more about physiological rest. When I am fully recovered, I will have a prompt from Oura Ring to go big (I also have an alert set on my Oura Ring to remind me to go to bed, which is a nice cue for a night owl). My Oura Ring app will also let me know when to take it easy.
It is easy to become overwhelmed with the amount of statistics available on wearable technology but don't let that deter you. I encourage you to focus on one or two statistics in the beginning to help you understand how your physical movements relate to moods, energy, and physical awareness. Once you feel comfortable, I suggest adding a few more statistics into your ongoing relationship with fitness and lifestyle goals.
Maintaining a healthy mind and body takes a conscious effort. Technology helps us take some of the nuances out of the equation so we can focus on our techniques and workouts. What are your plans to reach your fitness goals?
*Remember to have your physician's clearance before engaging in exercise.