How can a Fitbit help improve your fitness

Posted by Anthea England on | Tags: Fitness , Lifestyle

They’re the accessory du jour in the fitness set, but we wanted to find out if a Fitbit could do more than just track your steps and look great on your wrist. Turns out, the Fitbit Alta HR can actually help you nail your workouts and boost your results. Impressive.

Fitbit stretchYou can sleep your way to a better body

Stay with us on this one. Sleeping is actually critical to results in the gym. For one, simply getting to the gym can be enough of a battle as it is – without trying to stumble through a workout sleep deprived. However, more specifically, deep sleep is key for muscle growth and repair. Deep sleep is the third stage of your sleep cycle and it’s when most of your human growth hormone (HGH) is released.

HGH is critical for helping regulate your metabolism and boost your performance in the gym. It prompts the body to burn fat – which is the ultimate aim, particularly when following a low-carb or ketogenic diet.

One of the advantages of using a good quality fitness tracker like the Fitbit Alta HR is that it has advanced sleep tracking. It has a handy function called Sleep Stages, that’s powered by PurePulse heart rate technology. It uses heart rate variability to estimate the amount of time you spend in the different stages of sleep: light, deep and REM, plus the amount of time you’re awake each night. Until you track your sleep, it’s hard to really tell how much quality deep sleep you’re logging every night.

Notice you’re not hitting your snooze targets? The Fitbit Alta HR has some handy tips for improving your sleep and will give you a great overview of your week to see if there’s a particular day letting you down. Hey, Saturday night – we’re looking at you.

You’ll nail your workout intensity

Intensity is critical to the success of a workout. In some workouts you want to keep the intensity consistent and in others you might want to move between zones, such as in High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). The Alta HR will tell you if you’re truly hitting your targets! In short: you can’t slack off…

Take the example of HIIT: in simple terms, HIIT follows the format of 20 seconds of work out, followed by 10 seconds of recovery. The total workout time varies dependent on your fitness level. Recommendations vary, but you could aim for 80-90% of your max heart rate in the work periods and around 60% in your rest periods.

This is where the Fitbit Alta HR comes in handy. You can check your heart rate as you go, plus review your workout in the app to see how much time you spent in each of the heart rate zones. This is a great way to check if you’re really exercising with enough intensity! The Alta HR will calculate your max heart rate for you, based on your age – but you can also customise it.

Want to see if those HIIT sessions are paying off long term? Your Alta HR will also calculate your VO2 Max – it’s basically a measurement of how well your body uses oxygen during exercise and a great indicator of fitness. If your VO2 max score increases, you’re most likely getting fitter, too. Boom!

Fitbit yoga

You can check your incidental exercise

Whether you’re smashing out a HIIT session or not, incidental exercise is important for your health and wellbeing. A recent study from Columbia University found that sitting for 12+ hours per day, particularly if accumulated in 60-90 minute periods, increased the risk of early death – even if you exercise! The Fitbit Alta HR gives you reminders to move – encouraging you to reach an hourly goal of 250 steps. Sounds small – but the health benefits can be significant.

Even increasing your incidental activity slightly can boost cardiorespiratory fitness, a study in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise found. The researchers discovered that a cumulative 30-minute increase in moderate physical activity throughout the day offered significant benefits for fitness and long-term health. This can be anything from doing housework to walking around the office. However, it’s often hard to know how much you’re really doing every day till you track it! That’s why the all-day activity tracking on the Alta HR can be a lifesaver.

Regardless of whether you start your morning in spin class or just run for the bus, a tracker like the Fitbit Alta HR is a great way to keep yourself accountable and check you’re moving enough every single day!
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