What are wearable fitness devices, you ask? You have probably seen people wearing them. Wearable fitness devices can come in the form of a bracelet, a watch, or something that looks like a medallion that can be inserted into a watch band or necklace, or attached to almost any article of clothing. Although each fitness device has its own unique qualities, they all have the common function of tracking your steps, activity, calories burned and even sleep. Most sync with your smart phone or computer so you can input data and look at your overall activity and progress. Move over bionic woman, and make room for an easily attainable version of wearable tech!

If you thinking about asking for or giving a wearable fitness device this holiday season, I think it’s a stellar idea! Remember: if you can measure it, you can manage it. If you or someone you care about wants to become more physically active, the first step is figuring out how active you are already. The next step is improving from there. Wearable tech is an easy way to monitor yourself. The great thing about wearable tech is that it makes you accountable for what you’re doing and eliminates the flub factor. There’s no guessing at the end of the day how many steps you took or how active you were. It’s all recorded for you, for posterity.

Once you measure what you’re already doing, you can set goals for improvement. Today’s wearable fitness tech usually performs the function of a pedometer plus more. We know from previous research that pedometer based walking programs help people lose weight. Longer programs lead to more weight loss than shorter programs. And don’t forget: if you exercise, even if you don’t lose a pound, you have improved your cardiovascular health. That means you’ve lowered your risk of developing high blood pressure and heart disease, not to mention you are improving your mental state and brain health. Research shows that any type of physical activity is good for your mental agility.

If you really want to step up your game, consider adding social media to the mix. Invite some exercise buddies to join you on Facebook or another social media platform. Some small studies show that social media helps with weight loss by increasing accountability and motivation.

Here are some suggestions to get started:

1. Purchase or receive a wearable fitness device.

2. For the first week, make no changes. Observe your baseline level of physical activity.

3. Next, set a goal. Whether it’s increasing your daily steps by 10%, committing to taking the stairs at work, or getting to the gym one more day per week.

4. Once you accomplish your goal, set a new one.

5. Consider posting your trials and tribulations on a social media and invite friends to join in the fitness challenge.

So which wearable fitness tech to buy? The choice is yours—check out these reviews to help you decide. Pick something you like that fits your personality and budget. Whether you choose the Jawbone, Fitbit Flex, or Misfit Shine, you’re on your way to making healthy changes.

See more at blogs from the incredible doctors and staff at the Center for Women’s Health here.

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