It doesn’t matter if it’s an Apple Watch, Fit Bit, Garmin or other type of fitness tracker, people are wearing them around the clock—and it just makes sense to wear them to salsa class! Right? Not necessarily. Fit watches are just one tool of many that may help you move more and keep track of your heart rate. However, they’re better suited for some people over others. For many, if you’re already in a salsa class, you don’t need a watch to tell you to move!
It can be tempting to watch your calories burned number go up and steps increase. For a lot of people, that serves as motivation to take the stairs instead of the elevator, or to walk around the block during a break instead of sitting on a bench. Unfortunately, it can also become addictive and organizations such as the March Against Eating Disorders Non-Profit have noted that having such accessible numbers literally at your fingertips can lead to obsessive and disordered habits.
This isn’t to say that everyone who wears a fit watch will form an unhealthy attachment to it or habits. It is, however, something to keep in mind. You know yourself best.
Before you strap on the watch and head to class or a salsa club, ask yourself a few questions:
- What do I hope to get out of the information from this watch?
- Do I really need the watch to encourage me to move more, take more steps or burn more calories?
- Will the watch interfere with the fun I have salsa dancing?
- How will wearing the watch improve my experience?
- How will I feel if I a) move/burn as many calories as I hope or 2) don’t move/burn as many calories as I hope?
As you can see, wearing a watch can potentially keep you from fully immersing yourself in your salsa dance—or it can be an added bonus to an already fun-filled night! Like most choices in life, there are pros and cons.
Yes, Wear the Watch!
There are many salsa dancers who benefit greatly from wearing a fit watch. Some scenarios in which wearing a fit watch is a plus can include:
- You’re new to exercising and have fallen in love with salsa dancing as your go-to cardio. You adore salsa, but right now one of your biggest priorities is getting in shape and that includes fat loss and a stronger heart. Since you’re just learning to track how much you need to move to lose weight, your fit watch is a useful tool. Plus, you really want to see how productive your night is!
- Your doctor has told you to keep an eye on your elevated heart rate. You don’t want to give up salsa dancing, but you know following your doctor’s orders is a must. Your fit watch comes with a heart rate monitor, and you depend on it to tell you when you can dance, when to slow it down, and when to sit a song out.
- You’ve accepted a challenge with a friend or group that has a deadline in sight. The mission? See who moves the most! You all wear fitness tracking devices and there’s a lot on the line (even if it’s just bragging rights!). In this case, with a deadline looming, wearing your fit watch is critical if you want to stay competitive.
No, Leave the Watch at Home
It’s no surprise that there are a lot of ambitious, driven Type-A salsa dancers. Whether you’re at the competitive level or on your way, wearing a fit watch can seem like a great idea. However, watch out—there are some situations where it’s best to pass on this technology:
- You know that tracking numbers can get you in trouble. Whether you think you can have a disordered relationship with exercise or you’ve been diagnosed with a disorder such as exercise-induced bulimia, you know (or have been told!) that tracking numbers isn’t a healthy move for you.
- You’ve caught yourself spending more time looking at your watch data than dancing or enjoying the class/nightclub. This goes double if your partner, friends or even strangers have commented on it!
- The desire to “get higher numbers” has trumped you listening to your own body. You should decide when and how hard to dance, not your watch.
On the fence about wearing a watch? Unless you know tracking these numbers isn’t healthy for you, take it on a trial run. However, be forewarned: If you’ve tried a fit watch before for other activities (such as running) and have found that it interferes, you may have the same experience wearing it as salsa class.