Fitness trackers were all the rage a few years ago, but some experts doubted their value. New research shows that wearing a tracker leads to more physical exercise. Finally, there is evidence that FitBits really work!
Primary Purpose of Trackers
Digital technologies have enhanced daily convenience in countless ways. Today, you can buy Delta 9 online to sleep better, count calories in an app, and use a tracker to measure steps, distance, and minutes of exercise. Data collected by these bracelets is fun and interesting, but their purpose is to make us more active.
The British Medical Journal has published a review by researchers at the University of Copenhagen. Titled “Effectiveness of physical activity monitors in adults: systematic review and meta-analysis”, it summarized data from 121 randomized trials involving over 16,700 adults.
The studies lasted for 12 weeks on average and examined the effects of fitness trackers on people with an average age of 47. The researchers considered three primary outcomes — physical activity, moderate to vigorous physical activity, and sedentary time.
- The researchers established a significant improvement in physical activity indicators.
- Participants wearing a fitness tracker daily took over 1200 steps more and got almost 50 more minutes of “moderate to vigorous” exercise weekly.
- Another peculiar observation is that tracker wearers stood for around 10 more minutes. However, this change was described as negligible.
Most Effective Types of Trackers
Fitness trackers are not created equal. Research shows the highest efficiency of wearables with feedback. Unsurprisingly, the most powerful trackers are those that let users set daily goals and remind them to move. These devices will help you get more exercise daily.
The review also points out some limitations in the studies. First, they were conducted in countries with a higher income level. Secondly, the design and methods varied. Nevertheless, the researchers concluded that their work “stands as the largest available systematic review and meta-analysis” dedicated to the influence of fitness trackers on physical activity.
Drawbacks of Fitness Trackers
Overall, this meta analysis paper revealed impressive effects. Fifty minutes of additional exercise and 1,000+ extra steps are big changes. At the same time, wearers should be aware of possible negative consequences of using trackers:
● Questionable accuracy
According to a study published in the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, trackers perform best as step counters. Other indicators, such as sleep time, can be iffy.
● Overemphasis on numbers
Consumers wearing trackers may get preoccupied with the indicators instead of monitoring how they feel. Some people lose motivation if they forget to put on their tracker in the morning. This does not mean you are bound to abandon your wearable, though. Listen to your body instead of relying on the device readings alone.