Intermountain Health logo

Please enter the city or town where you'd like to find care.

Get care nowSign in

Health news and blog

How an activity tracker can help you move more

How an activity tracker can help you move more

How an activity tracker can help you move more

When you’re trying to exercise more, it’s hard to stay motivated. It’s also hard to keep track of the movement you’re doing. That’s where an activity tracker comes in handy. Activity trackers are similar to a pedometer that tracks your steps. But most activity trackers can do more than just measure your step count. They can measure your heart rate or even serve as an alarm clock. Here’s what you need to know about activity trackers, and how they can help you get moving.

How do you use an activity tracker?

There are a wide variety of activity trackers available on the market today. You can go simple and get a pedometer, use your smartphone, or wearable trackers that also look like jewelry. It all depends on the functionality and style you are looking for in your device. Think about what you’d like to use your tracker to measure. For instance, some activity trackers can be used in the water to track your calorie count and movement while swimming. If you’re only looking to measure the steps you take, you may be able to just use a pedometer. Not sure how you’ll use an activity tracker? Here are some ideas:

  • Understand your current fitness level. It’s easy to assume you move a lot more than you actually do. In fact, most of us probably move less than we think we do. Wear your fitness tracker to understand how much you’re actually moving. Once you know that, you can set goals.
  • Set daily goals. When you want to move more, you’ve got to make daily goals. If you normally take 5,000 steps in a day, set a goal to walk 7,000. Pretty soon you’ll find yourself parking a little further from the grocery store to get in a few extra steps. You can even set goals for time spent exercising, mileage, or days of the week exercised.
  • Track progress over time. If you choose the right fitness tracker, you’ll be able to connect to an app that will show you your progress over time. Use it to see how you’re doing over weeks or months. If your tracker doesn’t have that feature, simply create a log yourself by logging your info at the end of every day.

What can an activity tracker measure?

The type of activity tracker you use depends a lot on what you want to measure. For example, an activity tracker can measure:

  • Step counts
  • Mileage
  • Calorie expenditure
  • Sleep quality and quantity
  • Type of activity
  • How long you are active
  • Heart rate

Many activity trackers also offer:

  • Alarm clocks and reminders
  • Goal setting
  • Social support and challenges through an app

An activity tracker is a great way to keep tabs on the amount of physical activity you get on a daily basis. As you understand your physical activity, you’ll start to notice little ways that you can move more. Choosing the right fitness tracker is as simple as understanding what features you want, and what your budget can afford. From a simple pedometer all the way to a smart watch, there is a fitness tracker out there that can help you move more.

Additional resources