Fitness Wearables – Keeping You on Track?
An article in Executive Style recently questioned how effective fitness trackers actually were in helping individuals get fit.
Do these devices play a role in maintaining and improving fitness or are they like the proverbial exercise bike and end up collecting dust in the the corner?
- Fitness trackers allows you to monitor your progress, making the individual personally accountable for both their activity and diet.
- By entering in everything that you have consumed, fitness trackers let you know how much activity is required to actually to burn off that sneaky soft drink, chocolate bar or white bread sandwich.
- Fitness trackers are great for those people who are ‘nearly there’. These people have already made some positive changes but aren’t seeing the results they want.
- By collecting a lot of variable data, some fitness trackers can provide individually tailored goals and programs.
- Fitness trackers can make you aware of how much difference even little modifications in your daily activity make. These include walking instead of driving to the shops or climbing those stairs instead of the lift. A person can identify both wins and trouble spots, making these changes more sustainable, especially in conjunction with diet and watching energy expenditure.
- Many of us, by design are sedentary in the work place. A fitness tracker provides an incentive to be more active (during breaks/ lunch hour) or increasing activity before or after work.
- Fitness Trackers can be expensive (the high end of fitness trackers can exceed $500) so are a considerable investment. This provides financial motivation to try and get the most out of your wearable tech.
- There is a variety of fitness trackers ranging in capabilities and price, allowing the consumer (given they do their research) to find a device that suits their requirements.
- Fitness Trackers are more practical than a smartphone for activities such swimming or doing aerobic activity.
- There is currently issues with some first or second generation fitness trackers in that they provide data that is limited, imprecise or not relevant. Some trackers aren’t tracking the important stuff such as sleep quality or blood pressure.
- When gathered and uploaded how can individuals interpret and use the data? Some trackers do not have the capacity of translating the data in to useful and practical information to assist the wearer in achieving their goals.
- There are those individuals that wearable fitness trackers just aren’t for them; they don’t respond well when they see their productivity is assessed by these devices, believing them impersonal and superfluous technology.
- If all you are after is a device that counts your steps, than a smart phone with the right app is all you need. Research has shown that smartphone apps are extremely accurate when counting steps taken and had less variability than wearable devices.
- A smartphone app such as the Moves or Fitbit apps also have the capability of estimating calories burned while exercising.
Ultimately what matters is the fit between the person and the device.
While some people want the intensity of feedback—sleep quality, brain patterns, heart rate—as well as goal-setting features, others want to keep it simple and in this situation a basic app on their smartphone will be able to provide this information.
This is the far cheaper option (many of us already have a smartphone) and it a case of downloading apps that range from being free to the $10-$20 price range.
Future generation of fitness trackers are promising to be more user friendly and that the data they collect – sleep rhythms, heart rate, calories required and expended will all be in the one device.
With increasing popularity fitness wearables are inevitably becoming faster and cheaper.
If you feel like you would respond well to wearable tech that assists you in maintaining and improving the amount you move, how you sleep and what you eat, fitness trackers are proving to be a very useful tool.
- Do fitness trackers really make a difference for helping you to get fit?
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