From Instagram models displaying their chiseled abs to fitness enthusiasts raving about little gadgets that track body movements and record progress, motivation to adopt a fit and healthy lifestyle is all around us. But motivation just never worked for me!

I wondered if investing in a digital fitness tracker or a smart wristband would push me to go the extra mile. Well, I’ve always been curious about these fantastic gadgets. Do they motivate people to move more? And more importantly, do they actually work?

The newest trend coming down the ‘health and fitness’ pipeline is the craze about fitness bands (such as Fitbit) that sit comfortably on your wrist and assess your days’ worth of physical activity. And I must admit that we surely have come a long way since the good old ‘step tracking’ app.

After doing a bit of research, I decided to buy Fitbit Flex – which is now my favorite fitness tracker. The exciting part is that the psychology behind fitness trackers is just as critical as the technology used to design them.

Feeling motivated to try one of the bands?

Let’s see just how helpful these gadgets can be.

A study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine (AJPM) assessed whether fitness trackers could increase the amount of physical activity in older women. The study involved 51 overweight, postmenopausal women who were getting 33 minutes/week of moderate to intense physical activity. They were divided into two groups – the first received a basic pedometer and the second received a Fitbit. Both groups were asked to follow 150-minute exercise sessions per week and to walk the standard 10,000 steps per day. While neither group reached its fitness goals, the group using a Fitbit had increased its physical activity time by 38 minutes per week.

What does this mean?

Well – motivation is all psychological, isn’t it? When all the progress that you’ve made is displayed on a graph and is clear to read, you are motivated to try even harder. It’s kind of like being accountable to the app – you know you’re being monitored, and so it helps you to stay on track (pun intended).

This Fitbit approach is quite similar to the practice doctors’ use with their patients – telling them to maintain logs, journals, and diaries talking about their lifestyle and physical activities to keep a check on their health. The feeling of accountability motivates you to keep adding to the progress you have already made.

The best part of using technology to better our lives is the convenience it brings with it. Fitness trackers come for all sorts of people – the beginners, the runners, the professionals, and the gym geeks and you can find the best fitness tracker guide online.

What’s interesting is that even health practitioners are favoring fitness bands and similar home diagnostic devices that could help them stay connected with their patients 24/7 and give their telemedicine practice a boost.

You’ve got a New Fitness Wristband – What’s next?

First and foremost – make sure your new friend is charged! Plug it in and get started. Fit your band on the non-dominant hand – secure it, so it doesn’t come loose while you’re walking or running. If you’re going to clip the gadget on your clothes, choose a secure location like your sleeve or hemline to clasp it on.

You can head on over to gadget’s website to create an account or visit the setup page to get the app. You may enter your weight, your ideal weight, what kind of diet you have, how much water you are taking in, and even your sleep cycle to record your fitness progress.

Remember that the most crucial part of a healthy lifestyle is planning and commitment. Make goals for yourself that are realistic and tailored to your abilities. It will be useless and unproductive to try to master push-ups when your arms can barely hold your weight. Similarly, someone with a sedentary lifestyle or a chronic heart condition cannot expect to run 10 miles on their first day. Moreover, the food we eat is enormously impacting our physiques – dieticians say being fit is 80% diet and 20% exercise.

You are wasting your effort into buying gadgets and gizmos when you override all your hard work with a greasy burger at the end of the day. While changing dietary habits can be incredibly frustrating initially, time is all we need. Practice self-care! Make sure you avoid the foods which make you unhealthy.

Consult your doctor to ascertain how much exercise is needed and right for you. Remember, the goal is to increase your heart rate healthily, in a way that is enough to help you shed those unwanted pounds. Talking to your doctor will allow you to understand how fast your heart rate should ideally go during exercise, and how often you will need to do it.

Whether you have a Fitbit or not, staying motivated and staying healthy is honestly a game-changer! You will see benefits all around you. From battling fatigue and bouts of sadness to feeling more energized and looking great in the mirror – the world is your oyster. So, on your mark, ready, get set GO!