Did you get a fitness tracker for Christmas? Has it increased your level of activity? The jury appears to be out on the ability of the fitness tracker to motivate someone to exercise.
One study followed 470 people wanting to lose weight. Half used a fitness tracker and the other half self-reported their activity. After two years, both groups were equally active, but the group utilizing the devices lost less weight. The researchers found that those using the fitness trackers would eat more because they had exercised more.
More long term research on the effectiveness of fitness devices is needed. The research so far indicates the devices are most effective when the people using them are already dedicated to tracking their fitness. Those who are not as motivated may not get the same results. Researcher Eric Finkelstein stated, “Fitness trackers are equivalent to a bathroom scale. They’re a measurement tool, not an intervention tool. They tell you something but don’t give you a strategy for how to change it.”
So if you are one of those individuals that is motivated to exercise and like tech, you will more than likely benefit from the use of a fitness tracker. Or maybe you have set fitness goals, and the fitness tracker helps you to measure those goals. The bottom line – effectiveness of these devices appears to be dependent on the individual. They are not a magic bullet and aren’t motivational for everyone.