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How TELUS helped me choose the right fitness tracker ...

... and challenged me to up my game

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How TELUS helped me choose the right fitness tracker ...

Wearables. This ubiquitous buzz word has been floating around for a while now. It took me some time to pay attention since I wasn’t sure wearable fitness technology would up my fitness game in any way, but boy was I wrong! My new fitness tracker has quickly become my new best friend.

After just about six weeks with the device, I’m more connected and aware of my daily fitness needs than ever before. It’s easy, simple and not at all intrusive. Better yet, the real-time access to my daily stats is inspiring me to do more, more often. Now I’m keen to watch my steps accumulate and my calories burn when I make small changes like taking the stairs or parking farther from the office. Why? Because now I know that a typical 15-minute walk gives me about 1,500 steps, burns about 120 calories and elevates my heart rate into the fat burning zone! If that excites me so much, can you imagine how excited I get with data from a hard workout? I’m inspired! I definitely didn’t expect to like this fitness tracking device so much, but here’s why I really do: Setup is so simple It started when I met with my gear expert, Mieka, at a TELUS Learning Centre, where her advice easily guided me to the right device for my needs. In my case, a Fitbit Charge HR. Wearable technology is advancing quickly and setting up a new device gets easier and easier all the time. I had the option to pair with a phone or tablet or to use a dongle to pair with my computer; I could use an app or visit the full interface online. I wanted the Fitbit app so we simply downloaded to my phone and it did all the work for me; automatically finding my device and loading the right interface that updates my stats whenever it’s near my phone. After that I entered a few important personal details such as my height and weight to help my device measure my stride more accurately (a tip from Mieka). She also suggested entering my name to receive personalized messages - definitely more fun! But my learning didn’t stop there! Here are a few more things I learned about my new best friend along the way… Dominant or passive? It’s a thing, seriously. Another tip from Mieka is that accuracy matters when it comes to the wrist you wear your device on. If it’s your dominant wrist, Fitbit wants to know so it can adjust sensitivity levels and record your metrics accurately. Goals are easy to set In fact, my tracker came pre-programmed with basic fitness goals like getting 10,000 steps a day – the widely approved guideline that we should all follow to easily improve our overall health and decrease our risk of heart disease. I’m already pretty active most days, so I set my daily goal to 12,000 steps. You can change goals on everything from how many calories you burn in a day to how many glasses of water you drink. These devices are smart Without letting my tracker know that I was about to exercise, 15 continuous minutes on my outdoor bike or the elliptical trainer allowed the Fitbit to determine what exercise I was engaged in and automatically categorize the activity and then customize the expected calorie burn.

Eliptical click to enlarge

Trackers are very visual I mapped walks around my Vancouver neighbourhood, rides around beautiful Stanley Park, and hikes up and down Pacific Spirit Regional Park through the Fitbit app, using GPS that let me see my route in real time.

bike stanley park click to enlarge

Other easy-access data shows calorie burn, pace and heart rate. Peak zones, fat burning zones and cardio zones are colour-coded and easy to see at a glance over the course of a workout or across the whole day.

burn zone click to enlarge

You’ll get inspired Once I set my goals and started tracking, I was inspired. No longer can I hit the hay if my goals have not been met! The ability to easily access real-time data about my goals keeps me alert and engaged. More than once I’ve set out for a late evening walk to make certain my 12,000 steps are hit. Tracking food intake is crucial (and chocolate milk is bad) Use the calorie tracker and you’ll quickly see what might be dooming your diet. For me an indulgent litre of chocolate milk after workouts was adding 92 grams of sugar and 680 calories I didn’t need. The spike was obvious when I looked at my log.  Even though I already knew better, my device made me face the nutritional truth and ditch this bad choice.

chocolate milk click to enlarge

My week can be stressful On Mondays my average resting rate is 68 beats per minute (bpm). By Friday it’s 78 bpm. I also experience heart rate spikes while driving my daily commute. Ain’t nobody got time for that! These simple relaxation strategies have helped me stay calm and keep my bpm down.

heart rate stress click to enlarge

Getting badges is fun After setting and achieving your target goals on the app, you’ll receive badges - fun, shareable and visual reminders that you’re consistently making a difference by paying attention to your daily, weekly and monthly progress. You can even go social and join or create challenges with friends and colleagues. lighthouseredwoodTrackers are fun to sleep with I didn’t even notice it was on at night! It’s fun to see how well I sleep after all the extra physical output. The default setting for sleep tracking is eight hours because sleep deprivation can be a nightmare and most of us need between seven and nine hours a night to be at our best.Ultimately, my biggest learning was how easy it was to get set up! Choosing the right fitness tracker with TELUS was so easy thanks to their extensive selection of wearable technology. Their dedicated Learning Centre Experts, (like Mieka) have all the answers and tons of tips to be successful with your wearable fitness technology. They’ll be able to recommend a tracker based on your specific needs. Mieka helped me drill down to my base needs with a few quick questions that produced a best device recommendation just for me. Finding Mieka was easy too, I just booked the appointment online. Now it’s your turn! Are you as excited about wearable fitness technology as I am? I think you should be! Try visiting a TELUS store for selection and advice that will get you thinking about your health and well-being in a whole new and inspiring way. The next step is yours!

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