Tag Archives: healthier lifestyle

Fitness Tracker Tips to Achieve Your Goals

If you’re one of the millions of Americans who received a fitness tracker for Christmas, you’ve no doubt already unwrapped it and put it to use. Fitbit alone has 24.5 million users, a mere 9.5% of the global fitness tracker market.

Statistically, about 30% of users abandon their tracker within six months, no matter how much was spent on the device. The reasons vary among users, but according to Deborah Lupton, Centenary Research Professor at the University of Canberra, those least likely to abandon their tracker are “People who were actively using Fitbits and had incorporated them into their daily routines… really did enjoy things like badges and the buzzes and the flashing lights. Those features of wearables like Fitbit were very motivating for these people.” Those most committed to their fitness trackers were the super-competitive, people who would actually march around their kitchen at night just to hit their required number of steps for the day.

But, for the rest of the world, the less-competitive shall we say, it takes being intentional if you want to incorporate your tracker into your lifestyle. You need to make it a habit. According to research, it takes sixty-six days to create a good habit. The same study found that if you miss a day, you haven’t completely gone off the rails, so don’t despair.

Follow these suggestions to make the most of your device so your health and fitness become a long-term, sustainable lifestyle.

It may seem obvious but start with reading the manual. Since many of us consider ourselves somewhat tech-savvy, you may be tempted to jump in and figure things out through trial and error. Not only is that a waste of time, but you’re also likely to miss out on many of the device’s features. Unfortunately, many times the manual is printed in a near microscopic font, so a better option is to go to the manufacturer’s website and download the manual there.

Another “Well, obviously!” is to remember to wear it. Charge it near your phone, place it by something you grab every morning like your car keys or toothbrush, or if you only wear it when you exercise, put it in your gym bag or running shoes so you don’t forget to track your work out.

Once you’ve read through the manual and nailed down the basics, set your goals. Decide if you’re counting steps, calorie, active minutes, or whatever other numbers your device tracks.

Most trackers have a goal function that can be personalized based on current fitness level and where you’d like to be in a set time frame. Once you’ve set your goal, pay attention to your progress and adjust accordingly. If you’ve aimed too high and are frustrated that you consistently fall short, consider setting a more reasonable goal. On the other hand, if you’re hitting your milestones with ease, step up your game and make it more challenging. You’re more likely to stick with your goals and make it a habit if you’re consistently meeting those milestones.

The key to it all is routine. Make putting on your tracker as much a part of your morning routine as brushing your teeth. Set reminders to check your progress throughout the day, and give yourself non-sabotaging rewards like a coffee break, walk outside, or a few minutes goofing off online.

Sixty-six days is just a little over two months – you can do it!

Tracey Dowdy is a freelance writer based just outside Washington DC. After years working for non-profits and charities, she now freelances, edits and researches on subjects ranging from family and education to history and trends in technology. Follow Tracey on Twitter.

Digital Solutions for Helping Overweight Kids

by Stacey Ross

In today’s culture, instant gratification is the name of the game, although that is often perceived as a negative thing. However, in the area of fitness, nutrition and general health, instant access to technology can be a huge blessing!

With this in mind, I have tapped into the resources provided by nationally-regarded fitness expert and children’s health advocate Kelli Calabrese, who highlights digital resources that encourage positive lifestyle changes for children who struggle with weight issues. The following are just a few of her recommendations:

Internet Calculators

Body Mass Index (BMI) is a reliable indicator of body fat levels for most children and teens, and serves as an easy-to-perform method of screening for weight categories that could pose health concerns. A BMI calculator for children and teens ages 2-19 years-old can be located at the Centers for Disease Control web site. The Healthy Eating Calculator developed by Baylor College of Medicine is another useful tool. It calculates how many calories a child needs each day, based on height, weight, and physical activity.


A noteworthy eBook is the award-winning fictional children’s story Making Healthy Choices—A Story to Inspire Fit, Weight-Wise Kids. Available in both a boys’ and girls’ edition, it is identical to its paperback version, and includes a bonus recipe section only available with the eBook. The story helps overweight kids get on track health-wise, and motivates healthy kids to better relate to peers currently struggling with a weight problem. Good stuff!


Searching for apps to help kids eat healthful foods and get active? One app called Child Obesity Guide provides caregivers with assessment and planning tools that include chapters on “How to Diagnose Obesity,” “Meal Planning,” and “Using Labels to Eat Healthy.” Targeted towards a younger audience, another app titled Nutrition and Healthy Eating provides three fun, science-based learning games for preschoolers and kindergarteners. Kids learn how to ID different foods and how to create well-balanced meals for a penguin’s birthday party!

Interactive Games

Education made fun is an ideal way to engage kids while they learn important information; and in this case the topic is health principles. Kidnetic, which is produced by Kraft Foods, is an awesome interactive Web site that is chock-full of cool games, scavenger hunts, challenges, and even a cool “Move Mixer” dance designer. The CDC’s BAM! Body and Mind web site also offers online games that teach kids about the body and mind.

Supportive Videos

One of the keys to a healthier lifestyle for kids is for parents to be part of the process right along with them. There are many helpful videos that center around childhood obesity that are both educational and informative to watch right along with your kids. One such initiative, spearheaded by First Lady Michelle Obama, provides inspirational documentaries that are full of great information. They showcase kids who have changed their lives for the better through good nutrition and fitness.

Everyone seems to be looking for a quick fix, but hopefully these resources can be part of the toolbox that offers positive experiences for children who are ready to embrace a change of lifestyle!