Do Fitness Tracker Actually Improve Your Health?
Your watch measures steps, pace, calories burned, and heart rate. That has to bring benefits…right?
Chances are, you probably use some sort of fitness tracker to log your runs, other workouts, and steps throughout your day.
The more you use your fitness tracker, the better your overall health is, right? Well, sort of.
According to new research published in the American Journal of Medicine, using your fitness tracker religiously doesn’t necessarily lead to health benefits like lower blood pressure or cholesterol levels.
But don’t panic just yet: The meta-analysis did find that your fitness tracker does help boost your motivation to work out—which in turn can make you healthier.
Researchers from the University of Florida found little evidence that wearing a fitness tracker directly correlated to lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol levels, or significant weight loss.
fitness trackers may motivate people to move for (a little while), but it may not be enough to make people exercise (an amount) that is significantly associated with health results.As per Ara Jo, Ph.D., M.S., study coauthor and clinical assistant professor at the University of Florida’s College of Public Health and Health Professions
Jo said about fitness trackers .
However, some functions of fitness trackers—say, like hourly reminders to get your steps in or competitions between friends – may prompt people to move and then reward them for their activity, so this acts as an incentive to exercise
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If this seems like a catch-22, that’s because it kind of is.
If fitness trackers are motivating you to move more, wouldn’t that lead to some eventual health benefits?
It all depends on how seriously you’re taking that movementAccording to Jo
If fitness trackers help people not only to (just) move, but also to exercise for about 15 to 20 minutes or more, it may benefit health outcomes,Jo said
But if you’re only getting a few steps in, you’re probably not getting the recommended amount of physical activity needed to prevent health problems down the line.
According to the American Heart Association (AHA), adults should get at least 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise or 75 minutes per week of high-intensity aerobic exercise – or a combination of both.
Additionally, adults should get moderate- to high-intensity strength training at least two days per week.
If you use your fitness tracker to help motivate you to meet the above criteria, then there’s a good chance you’ll reap the health benefits that come with regular exercise.