THE region is embracing the latest technology in the fitness world – activity trackers.
They are like pedometers on steroids and come in all shapes and sizes, but they all aim to encourage their owners to move more, eat better and even sleep better.
Most, like the Fitbit Flex and Polar Watch, are worn on the user’s arm and measure steps and active minutes and even how restless or restful their sleep has been.
By using them with an app on a smartphone or computer, the user can also keep a food diary and count calories.
Woolomin’s Sarah Hudson has worn a Polar Watch, with a heart rate monitor, for two years and walked the Kokoda Track with it in April.
“It was good to monitor my progress to see how my fitness improves,” she said.
“It’s all recorded on the watch and it does calorie intake and heart rate with a monitor. It keeps you on track and if you are not having a good week, it will remind you and help get you back on track.”
When she trekked Kokoda, she burned 21,587 calories over eight-and-a-half days and the 96km journey took her 56 hours and 40 minutes.
Ms Hudson began the trek with a heart rate of 160 beats per minute, with a maximum of 190bpm, and by the end, her fitness had improved to the point her heart rate was 115bpm with a maximum of 159bpm.
“I loved seeing my fitness improvements,” she said.
“I’d done nine months of training leading up to it and the Polar Watch let me know what I needed to work on. I bought it to monitor my progress. I wore it on Kokoda because I wanted to see my progress and I wouldn’t have known that without the watch.”
Louise Cole of Gunnedah uses a Fitbit Zip, which she wears on clothing, and started using it after friends told her how much they loved theirs.
“It’s helped me keep count of my steps,” she said.
“I’m not one of those people who has a lot of weight to use, but I do struggle to keep track of how active I’ve been and what I’m doing.”
Ms Cole said she also loved that she could see how many calories she had burned each day, compared to how many she had eaten.
“I also love the fact that you can connect it with friends,” she said.
“One of the friends I am on Fitbit with is in WA and we are in a step war, so that keeps that friendly competition happening and gives you that extra motivation.”