Get the Most Out of Your Fitness Gadget

Get the Most Out of Your Fitness Gadget

Slap a Fitbit or Garmin on your wrist and get in shape. If only fitness was that easy, right?

While exercising regularly requires dedication and effort––whether you’re wearing a fitness tracker or a smartwatch––following these tips can help you reap the most from your workouts:

  1. Wear it well. Buy a device you actually want to wear. Be sure it’s comfortable, water resistant and, if possible, has an interchangeable band. “It may seem obvious, but consistently wearing your fitness gadget is the first step to success,” said Megan Gross, Clinical Exercise Physiologist, Holland Hospital Cardiac & Pulmonary Rehabilitation. “And keep in mind, most wrist trackers rely on arm motion for step count, so for example, if you’re pushing a grocery cart, you might want to put your device in your pocket for a more accurate calculation.”
  2. Embrace movement. Just beginning your fitness journey? Every little bit of movement makes a difference. Take the stairs instead of the elevator, and get up from your desk and go for a short walk every so often. As an added nudge, plenty of workout bands offer gentle reminders that let you know you’ve been sitting too long.
  3. Think gradual. Don’t try to run or walk a marathon in a day. Set realistic targets and build on them gradually. While many fitness trackers have the ability to set goals built into their software, there are a variety of third-party apps that can also do that for you.
  4. Don’t overcomplicate functionality. Opt for a fitness device that’s easy to use, especially when starting out. “Because I prefer quality functions versus quantity, I’ve found the Polar A370 Fitness Tracker* is an ideal choice,” said Tina Vande Guchte, Certified Personal Trainer and Medical Exercise Specialist, Holland Hospital Healthy Life Programs. “The A370 has bright, easily visible heart rate, timer and calories burned displays, which stay illuminated during an entire workout. I can easily see these readings, even if my personal training clients are exercising vigorously a few feet away from me.”
  5. Connect with others. As your fitness level increases, sharing your data and continuing success with others can provide a boost of motivation. There will likely be an entire community built into your fitness tracker software, but if that isn’t the case, there are apps like Strava with social leaderboards for commenting, competing and camaraderie.
  6. Avoid injury, by knowing when to rest and recover. Regardless of what you’re wearing, it’s important to recognize when it’s time for a break. Allow yourself days off in your training schedule. A lot of wearable technology can also help you with another essential part of your workout sessions—warming up and cooling down.

Looking to improve your diet or fitness level? Hoping to realize a new personal wellness goal? Beyond helping you get well, Holland Hospital encourages you to stay well with our Healthy Life Programs. For more on these programs, classes and events, visit

*Retails for about $150, but at the time of publication (12/17/19) it was available on Amazon for $91.