How fitness trackers track more than fitness

ORLANDO, Fla. - Whether you are taking a brisk walk through the park or running on the treadmill, you may have a fitness tracker to count your steps. But that tracker has some lesser-known features to help you stay on track with your health.

Whether it’s a smartwatch or a Fitbit, it seems like everyone has one. 

The use of fitness trackers is on the rise. In fact, by 2020, the world market for wearable technology in fitness and wellness is expected to grow to $11.2 billion. Fitness trackers today can crunch a lot of useful health data.

“We now have a multidimensional sensor which can capture a lot of information about how an individual moves through the world,” said Dr. Marvin Slepian, a cardiologist at the University of Arizona.

So what features are you not using that you should? Try monitoring your heart rate. You can see how your heart rate changes during different exercises and the feature allows you to target certain fitness goals more closely. With the GPS feature on some trackers, you can try a new running route and never have to worry about getting lost. Also, some fitness trackers include altimeters so you can see how elevation changes affect your workout. And you don’t only have to use your fitness tracker to work out; you can use it to relax, too. Some trackers have breathing reminders and meditation apps that help you to slow down. So use that fitness tracker to its full potential.

Fitness trackers are not just for the young, active and healthy anymore. Seventeen percent of Americans older than 65 use them to track vitals, such as blood pressure or heart rate compared to 20 percent of Americans younger than 65.

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