Do Fitness Trackers Improve Health?

According to data published on The Lancet Global Health website, around 1.4 billion people live an inactive lifestyle. This is exceptionally sad news since a sedentary lifestyle leads to higher risks of health issues like cardiovascular diseases.

If you want to avoid the consequences of an inactive lifestyle, prioritize physical fitness. If you are a fitness newbie, start small with doable activities like walking 5,000 steps daily, then work your way up. Better yet, get a fitness tracker.

A fitness tracker is one of the best tools for keeping fit and improving your health. With this gadget, you can kickstart your fitness journey and use data collected to enhance your well-being. Below, you’ll discover the amazing perks and a few downsides of using fitness trackers. Our article will also give you a brief glimpse into the future of fitness trackers.

So, Do Fitness Trackers Improve My Health – Benefits of Fitness Trackers?

Suppose you wonder if fitness trackers are beneficial to your health. The answer is a resounding YES. The gadgets play a significant role in improving your overall well-being by:

1. Making Tracking Fitness Goals Easier

Setting attainable goals and monitoring your progress is the key to getting and staying fit. For instance, commit yourself to working out three times a week and building more lean muscle. With such a goal, you can keep your eyes on the prize. Most importantly, through active monitoring, you will be better positioned to identify workouts that get you closer to your objectives faster.

 A good fitness tracker helps you set individualized fitness goals and monitor your progress. Doing so, they help you stay on the right track and keep you pumped up.

2. Encouraging You to Keep Moving

A fitness tracker can calculate your daily step count and show it to you. It also reminds you to keep moving whenever necessary. For example, if your goal is walking 250 steps per hour, your fitness tracker will remind you to walk if you stand or sit down for 50 minutes. Then, you can walk the 250 steps over the remaining 10 minutes.

A fitness tracker helps you burn calories and lose weight by encouraging you to move regularly. It also leads to other benefits, including reduced stress and better mental health.

3. Monitoring Your Health

Quality fitness trackers monitor various aspects of your health, ranging from heart rate and blood oxygen saturation to sleep and stress levels. They also provide crucial data that you can use to gauge your overall well-being and make healthy lifestyle changes.

Take monitoring heart rate as an example. A fitness tracker lets you observe your resting heart rate and determine if you are in good shape. If the numbers are too low or astronomically high, you’ll know it’s time to cut back on coffee, quit smoking, or make other healthier lifestyle changes.

4. Keeping an Eye on Blood Sugar Levels

Some fitness trackers are compatible with continuous glucose monitoring technologies. That means you can connect your gadget with a CGM, which provides you with accurate blood glucose information. If you are a diabetic, a fitness tracker linked to a CGM is the key to staying on top of your health and avoiding frequent trips to a doctor.

If the info from your fitness tracker indicates your blood sugar is too low or too high, do what you need to manage it. For instance, drink fast-acting carbs or intensify your exercises, respectively. Most important, talk to your doctor if the numbers dip or spike alarmingly.

5. Measuring Sleep Quality

According to health experts, getting enough sleep is crucial in avoiding frequent bouts of illnesses and improving heart health. It’s also indispensable in weight management because sleep helps moderate your appetite. On the other hand, sleep deprivation can significantly increase food cravings, hunger, and fat and chocolate intake.

One of the benefits of using a fitness tracker is improved sleep quality. Many fitness trackers monitor sleep quality and quantity. They also give users valuable insights into how activities like food consumption and caffeine intake affect sleep. And with the right insights, wearers know what to do or avoid enjoying improved sleep and associated perks.

Is There Any Evidence? What Does Science Say About Fitness Trackers and Health

Various scientific studies and findings link fitness trackers to improved health.

In 2022, a review published in The Lancet Digital Health showed a clear correlation between wearable trackers and increased user physical activity. According to the report, wearable trackers promote behavior-change techniques like goal setting and encourage increased daily physical activity. By doing so, they lead to better physiological health through perks like reduced blood pressure and have the potential to improve psychosocial well-being.

Australian researchers published the report on The Lancet Digital Health website. They drew their conclusion from a review that involved almost 400 studies and 164,00 subjects from all walks of life. According to their findings, wearable activity trackers encourage people to walk around 1800 additional steps every day and lose approximately 1kg every five months.

Countless scientists and health experts also maintain that fitness trackers can boost heart health. For example, according to Seth Martin, a cardiologist at Johns Hopkins Medicine, these gadgets are great for heart health since they encourage people to be more active and change their habits. And as studies indicate, living an active lifestyle improves heart health and lowers cardiovascular mortality.

Downsides of Fitness Trackers

Despite many health benefits, fitness trackers are not all rainbow and kittens. These devices have a few significant downsides, including:

1. High Price Tags

Most quality fitness trackers are pricey because they rely on advanced technologies like top-shelf accelerometers and heart rate monitors. Moreover, many are made using high-quality materials like titanium and stainless steel, which lend them high durability and a stylish look. So, if you plan to buy a good gadget, prepare to spend accordingly.

That said, countless low-priced devices are available on the market. You can go with them if you’re working with a limited budget. But don’t prioritize cheapness since many of the cheapest gadgets available today are susceptible to issues like inaccurate tracking, fewer functionalities, and incompatibility with some smartphone brands.

2. Limited Battery Life

Standard fitness trackers run on batteries designed to last a couple of days. When your device’s battery runs out, charging becomes necessary. And that can be a huge inconvenience, especially during the day when you have to count your steps, monitor resting heart rate, etc. Plus, frequent charging causes gaps in fitness data collection and makes accurate progress tracking almost impossible.

But there’s still hope. If you don’t want limited battery life and frequent charging to negatively impact your fitness journey, go for products with exceptional battery life, like Withings Move, which can last 18 months.

3. Data Collection and Storage

Lastly, fitness trackers collect and store sensitive data like heart rate, blood pressure, dehydration habits, and weight. Plus, some monitor where you live, your place of work, shopping centers, favorite workout routes, etc. 

Unfortunately, since most fitness trackers rely on Bluetooth, cybercriminals can hack into your gadget, steal your data, and use it for malicious purposes like committing identity theft. Furthermore, if you use a shoddy device, it might share your info with third parties without your consent. 

The Future of Fitness Trackers

Today’s fitness trackers are more advanced than their predecessors, which could only perform basic functions like counting steps. And as we move into the future, these gadgets will become more advanced, thanks to machine learning and AI integration.

In the coming days, fitness fanatics will have access to AI-powered trackers with unmatched abilities to analyze real-time data and adapt to ever-changing needs and preferences. These gadgets will also provide more accurate data, allowing wearers to track their progress effectively and get the most out of their workout sessions.

Additionally, as fitness continues to evolve, people will enjoy enhanced gamification. In the future, a quality fitness tracker will enable you to take your well-being to the next level by gamifying fitness with elements like levels, badges, and leaderboards. These will change your approach to fitness by infusing competition and making the entire ordeal more fun.

Final Thoughts

A good fitness tracker helps you reach and surpass your fitness goals. It also encourages you to stay active, improving your physical and mental health. Not to forget, with a quality gadget, you can improve sleep quality and enhance your well-being.

That said, countless fitness trackers are sold today. While picking the right gadget for your wellness journey, prioritize factors like long battery life and cost-effectiveness. Most importantly, go with devices from reputable manufacturers.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Can Fitness Trackers Help Improve My Health?

Fitness trackers can improve your health by encouraging physical activity, providing insights into your activity levels, monitoring heart rate and sleep patterns, and helping you set and achieve fitness goals.

What Types of Data Do Fitness Trackers Monitor?

Fitness trackers can monitor various types of data, including steps taken, distance traveled, calories burned, heart rate, sleep duration and quality, active minutes, and sometimes more advanced metrics like blood oxygen levels and stress levels.

Can Fitness Trackers Help With Weight Loss?

Yes, fitness trackers can aid in weight loss by tracking your activity and calories burned, which can help you maintain a calorie deficit. They also encourage you to set and reach daily step goals, providing motivation for staying active.

How Accurate are Heart Rate Monitors on Fitness Trackers?

Heart rate monitors on fitness trackers vary in accuracy. While they are generally reliable for providing a rough estimate of your heart rate, they might not be as accurate as medical-grade devices. Factors like the fit of the tracker, skin conditions, and motion can affect accuracy.

Can Fitness Trackers Monitor Sleep Patterns?

Yes, many fitness trackers have sleep-tracking features that monitor your sleep duration, sleep stages (light, deep, REM), and sleep disruptions. This data can help you understand your sleep patterns and make adjustments for better sleep quality.

Do Fitness Trackers Provide Personalized Fitness Goals?

Yes, many fitness trackers offer features that allow you to set personalized fitness goals based on your activity level, age, weight, and other factors. These goals can help you gradually increase your activity and improve your health over time.

Can Fitness Trackers be Integrated With Other Health Apps?

Yes, several fitness trackers have the capability to sync data with other health and fitness apps, such as nutrition trackers, weight loss apps, and meditation apps. This integration can provide a more holistic view of your health and wellness.

Do Fitness Trackers Have Social Features to Connect With Others?

Many fitness trackers offer social features that allow you to connect with friends and family, set challenges, and compete in step counts or activity goals. This social aspect can provide motivation and accountability.

Are there any Potential Downsides to Using Fitness Trackers?

While fitness trackers offer numerous benefits, some potential downsides include becoming overly fixated on numbers, experiencing inaccuracies in data, and developing an unhealthy obsession with tracking. It’s important to use fitness trackers as tools for motivation and self-awareness, rather than becoming solely reliant on them.

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