How to track everything (for fitness)

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So you’ve got a fitness tracker and the novelty of keeping tabs on everything you do – from steps taken to hours of shut-eye logged (and, if you’ve got a Sony Xperia™ Z3+, the terrifying amount of selfies you take/time you spend on Twitter). But how do you actually use it to make concrete, lasting changes to your fitness? Thankfully, it’s not that complicated. Here are the basics.

Set your own goals

Most trackers come with preset daily goals – but for the fitter gent, they can be laughably easy. 10,000 steps a day, for example, is a standard preset prescription, but there’s evidence that 12,500 or more can lead to even better cardiovascular health. Similarly, if you’re training hard, you might want more sleep than the standard eight hours. Whatever your target, keep it achievable: small, sustainable changes are the key to forming lasting habits.

Start slow

The first week you get your tracker, you’ll be tempted to walk everywhere, attacking the step-count like it’s a high score target. Don’t. Instead, keep your routine the same to get an idea of your baseline activity levels – you might be surprised by how little you move. Once you’ve got the basics down, look for tiny ways to improve the total - taking 200 more steps per day, for instance. Behavioural psychologist BJ Fogg calls small changes like this ‘micro-habits’, and argues that they’re easier to stick to than bigger changes.

Use your non-dominant hand

You’d probably do this anyway (because you put it on with your dominant hand), but just in case you’re wondering: a study from the journal Medicine And Science In Sports Exercise suggests that keeping your tracker on your non-dominant hand makes it more accurate – probably because it moves around less during everyday activities, keeping the readings reliable.

Pay attention to your body

Creating a feedback loop will reinforce good habits and make them easier to stick to. When you hit your activity goals for the day, pay attention to how your body feels. Maybe you’ll be more energised when you get more sleep, or feel mentally stronger when you take an extra 2,000 steps a day. If you know you’ll feel better by hitting your targets, you’ve got a concrete reason to get after them.

Sync with other apps

Once you’ve got the basics of Sony’s LifeLog down, branch out. Use other apps: like MyFitnessPal for food tracking, Strava for cycling or RunKeeper for running, to keep tabs on all your daily activities.

You can pick up the new Xperia Z3+ and Sony’s SmartWear at Carphone Warehouse now.

Coach Staff

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