Have you ever felt a buzz on your wrist telling you to stand up and walk around? Or heard a ding letting you know you’ve taken 10,000 steps that day? Those of us wearing fitness trackers are used to this, but are there disadvantages to having this information at hand (literally) 24/7? In this blog we will explore the pros and cons of wearing fitness trackers.
Wearing a fitness tracker like an Apple Watch or a Fitbit, can offer many benefits regarding one’s health and wellness. Here are some examples.
Helps Set Goals
Most fitness trackers offer a feature that allow the user to set goals. Number of daily steps, calories burned, hours slept, days of exercise gotten in, standing times, etc. are some goals you can set for yourself. For some people, having these goals in place with reminders set are crucial to their daily routine. And for those who aren’t used to wearing fitness trackers, goal setting can be exactly what you need to burn that extra calorie or not skip a workout. Sometimes having that reminder can be handy!
We all know how easy it is to get wrapped into work at your desk or a great episode of your favorite tv-show and not even realize that you haven’t gotten up or moved around in a while. The reminders that your fitness tracker send you can be great for getting you up, walking around, and getting your blood to flow! Your fitness can keep you and your friends accountable! Most brands offer sharing features that allow you to challenge your friends. Remember, having a like-minded workout partner is one of the best ways to hold you both accountable.
See Real-time Statistics
Have you ever questioned yourself during a workout? “Is this doing anything?” “Why am I already so out of breath?” Get on the spot answers to these questions with a fitness tracker. Sometimes it’s nice to look at your wrist in the middle of your workout, check your heart-rate, and feel good about the hard work you’re doing! Seeing your statistics during, and immediately after your workout can also keep you motivated to come back for more.
Fitness trackers are now very popular in the gym-world, but what if the invention designed to motivate people to exercise are actually demotivating? Not all the information you get from your fitness tracker is positive, and here’s why.
Not Entirely Accurate
Fitness trackers can only gather so much information about you so of course, they can not be 100% accurate. While they do a great job at estimating how many calories you’ve burnt, steps you’ve taken, they will never be spot on. Studies have shown that the one thing fitness trackers are most accurate on is step-counting.
Becoming obsessed or fixated on the numbers shown on your wrist can cause stress. Knowing daily what your body is burning could lead to an unhealthy relationship with calories, diet, and exercise. On a study completed with 200 Fitbit users by Rikke Duus from University College London and Mike Cooray from Ashridge Business School, some alarming negative effects are pointed out. Of the 200 Fitbit wearers, 79% felt constant pressure to reach their daily goals, 22% felt less motivated to exercise, and almost 30% felt their tracker was an enemy and constantly made them feel guilty. A common occurence is striving to reach the goals you set on your fitness tracker, then falling short. This often makes you feel bad about yourself and might cause you to quit exercising.
Doesn’t Track All REAL Benefits
Physical data is the only thing measured by a fitness tracker, which is only one outcome of a workout. What they don’t measure is the psychological data, or benefit, that occurs. Regardless of your performance, exercising and moving reduces stress, anxiety, and depression. Your Apple Watch, Fitbit, etc. cannot measure the mental mood boost that exercise produces.
It is important to recognize both the positive and negative effects of wearing fitness trackers daily. If you love seeing those stats and setting personal goals, wear that watch! On the flip side, don’t be afraid to ditch the tracker and move your body based on the way it makes you feel. Remember, moving your body is a victory and there is no such thing as a bad workout!