The Pros & Cons of Fitness Trackers
Have you ever felt a buzz on your wrist signaling you to get up and take a few steps? Or received an alert on your phone letting you know you were nearly at your 10,000 steps per day goal? These are a few of the notifications those of us that wear fitness trackers are used to, but are there drawbacks to always having this information at hand?
Wearing a fitness tracker can offer you a lot of great benefits in regard to your health and wellness. Here are a few of the pros to owning one:
Allows You to Set Goals
Many fitness trackers allow you to set goals for yourself in terms of daily steps to take, calories to burn, days of exercise to get in, and even hours of sleep to get per night. For some people, having these goals in place with reminders throughout the day is a part of their daily routine. For those that aren’t used to wearing fitness trackers, they may help you get started on walking some extra steps per day or getting a few more hours of sleep. Sometimes, having that handy little reminder can be helpful!
Keeps You Accountable
It can be easy to get wrapped up in work at your desk or sucked into a great episode or two of your favorite TV shows and not even realize that you haven’t gotten up to walk around in a while. Fitness trackers are great for reminders to get up, walk around, and get your blood flowing. Fitness trackers can also be used to help you track how many hours of sleep you’re getting per night. They can help you figure out if you should try getting to bed a little earlier or if your bedtime routine is working just the way it is. Fitness trackers can help keep your friends accountable, too! Many brands offer built in challenges that allow you to connect with others to amplify your step count, exercise routine, and more!
Acts as a Source of Motivation
Not only does a fitness tracker send you notifications to help you with your daily goals, but they celebrate you, too! Many challenges offer badges or trophies to collect in the associated app and some may even buzz a cheerful tune for you when you meet a specific goal for the day. There’s nothing quite as motivating as feeling a little buzz of celebration once you reach your 10,000th step for the day!
As with anything, though, there could be some drawbacks. Here are a few of the cons to consider when looking into purchasing a fitness tracker:
Not Entirely Accurate
Fitness trackers are only able to gather so much information about you – especially depending on their placement. While they do a great job of estimating how many steps you’re taking or calories you’re burning, they will never be entirely spot on. That is because the tracker may not be able to gauge the stride of your step, the exact speed you are going, or your exact heart rate. This reason, among many others, keeps fitness trackers from being entirely accurate about the number of calories burned in a day, too.
May Cause Fixation
Calories are a hot topic related to fitness trackers that can’t be ignored. For some people, having access to that number at all times can be motivating or even just another piece of information. For others, though, it could be challenging. There is a risk that knowing what your body is burning daily can cause an unhealthy relationship with calories – especially as we know this information is not entirely accurate.
Overall fitness trackers are a great way to keep tabs on your health and wellness behaviors on a day-to-day basis. Luckily, there are many products on the market that vary in price range depending on your needs. They can be great sources of information, but just remember that the information is never fully accurate!
Written by: Tanisha Amaral, Wellness Workdays Dietetic Intern
1. John Hopkins
2. Reid Health