So, you’ve received a shiny new fitness tracker, and you want to start using it right away. Where to start?

Ron DeAngelo, M. Ed., CSCS, LAT, ATC, FAFS, Director of Sports Performance shares some tips to help you make the most of your new gadget.

Set Some Healthy Goals

If you are a fairly sedentary person (i.e. you work an office job and sit most of the day) a good start is to aim for 10,000 steps per day. We recommend wearing your fitness tracker during your daily routines for a few days so that you’re able to get a baseline.

Here are some ways to get some extra movement in during the workday:

  • Get off the bus a stop early
  • Take a walk at lunch time
  • Print to a printer that is far away from your desk
  • Take the stairs (Some fitness trackers actually track floors climbed)
  • Drink a lot of water (This is good anyway but will also force you to get up for bathroom breaks)
  • Choose a parking spot farther away from your destination

And on the weekend:

  • Plan a fun family outing to a park
  • Wander around a museum
  • Go to an amusement park
  • Go on a hike, run, or bike ride

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Get Some Sleep

Most fitness trackers these days also track your sleep cycles, which could give you some great insight if you’re feeling tired during the day. According to the National Sleep Foundation, adults should aim for 7 to 8 hours of sleep nightly.

Set Movement Alerts

We’ve all heard about how sitting too much is bad for your health. Most fitness trackers have a setting that can buzz when you haven’t moved for a certain interval of time, to remind you to get up and go for a walk.

Grab Your Friends

Many fitness trackers allow you to add your friends so that you can each see each other’s activities on the app or website. This can help with encouragement or accountability, or some friendly competition.

Get Your Heart Pumping

Fitness trackers usually include a heart rate monitor — take advantage and participate in activities that will boost your heart rate. The Department of Health and Human Services recommends at least 75 minutes a week of vigorous aerobic activity.

Want more tips to help you stay healthy? Visit the UPMC Sports Medicine website.

About Sports Medicine

Sports bring with them a potential for injury. And if you are looking to prevent, treat, or rehabilitate a sports injury, UPMC Sports Medicine can help. We serve athletes from a wide variety of sports across every demographic: young or old, male or female, pro or amateur. We partner with the Pittsburgh Steelers, Pittsburgh Penguins, Pitt Panthers, and over 60 high school, college, and regional teams and events. We’re working to build better athletes. We use cutting-edge rehabilitation techniques to help you recover and provide education on how to prevent injuries.