Pretty much everyone knows that exercising and being physically active is the key to promoting overall health; this is not just for the physical benefits, but for a sense of well-being and cognitive acuity, as well. Unfortunately, statistics show that only 1 in 5 adults actually fulfill the CDC’s recommendation of engaging in 150 minutes of aerobic activity per week along with 2 days of muscle and strength training. And this trend continues to be on the rise as one gets older—less than 50 % of people age 65-74 and 1/3 of people over the age of 75 actually follow the aforementioned CDC exercise guidelines.

Fortunately, there is hope with the new fitness tracker technology. These smart phone apps and wristband trackers have seen a jump in popularity over the past several years and seem to encourage increased activity. Most are waterproof so that if swimming is your exercise of choice, you can track your activity in the pool.

There are several factors that contribute to the consistency or lack thereof with regards to exercising and the use of a fitness tracker.

Social: It has been found that an increase in physical activity has been directly linked to social factors, such as support from friends or family members and even friendly competition which tends to encourage commitment to an exercise regimen—accountability to another person can be effective for those who struggle to engage in regular exercise; this can also be quite beneficial for the older population.

Goal setting: Goal setting can help modify behavioral patterns which aids in facilitating positive changes in one’s habits. Studies have shown that more than 50% of those who have a fitness tracker of some kind will stray after a month’s time. However, with the proper support, goals setting and social interaction, it may lead to a more sustainable lifestyle of exercise, strength training and overall wellness. 

Because many older people are not sure how to get started on an exercise regimen,  after consulting with their doctor, fitness technology is  great way for them to begin exercising and tracking their activity level.

Environmental: Incorporating exercise into ones daily life may very well be affected by ones’ environment. For instance, walking as a form as exercise is a great strategy for getting in that moderate intensity exercise session —and its free! The fitness trackers gives feedback about your heart rate, calories burned and steps taken. If the weather is inclement and it is not possible to walk outside, hit the mall and track your steps there!

Researchers believe that if a fitness tracker device is used consistently and for a long enough period of time, there can be a change in long-term behavior and attitude toward exercising.

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