The truth is that anyone can use a fitness tracker to help them keep fit. However, these wearables are usually more helpful for people suffering from various health complications, since they allow them to monitor and improve their health. You’ll also find them with athletes looking for ways to make their exercise regimens more effective and also use fitness trackers. There are so many users you can possibly imagine.
Fitness trackers are undoubtedly popular, but are they worth it? Here is a comprehensive overview of how fitness trackers work, including their benefits and shortcomings.
Do Fitness Trackers Help Us Keep Fit, or Is It Just a Gimmick?
Many inventions have been helpful and even life-changing, while some have failed. So, do fitness trackers help, or are they just one big gimmick with millions of unwitting users?
According to Seth Martin, M.d., M.H.S. of a cardiologist at Johns Hopkins, fitness trackers are good for the heart.
“Fitness trackers are a great tool for heart health……. Being more active and changing your habits is important, but it can be difficult. Tracking likely helps a lot of people when combined with a clear goal to shoot for.”
Measuring and tracking exercises can be difficult, that’s for sure. Fitness trackers make it easy by measuring your physical movements and biometrics. They use a three-point accelerometer to track and interpret your movements. They also feature sensors that track and measure various biometrics. Moreover, they use advanced algorithms to interpret the collected data and generate simplified reports showing your overall health and fitness status.
Here is an overview of a modern fitness tracker’s main capabilities:
- Measuring the steps taken and distance traveled.
- Identifying specific body movements, such as running or walking.
- Recording your sleeping duration, stages, and quality.
- Measuring your heartbeat rate.
- Measuring your blood pressure and oxygen levels.
- Measuring calorie levels.
Interestingly, advanced fitness trackers also recommend health and fitness tips, such as dieting and exercising activities. The recommendations are personalized according to the latest data collected by the fitness tracker.
Giving up on health and fitness activities such as exercising and dieting is easy when you don’t know where you stand. However, tracking your performance in real time can help motivate you to keep going until you achieve and even exceed your daily targets.
How Many People Actually Use Fitness Trackers?
Research by Pew Research Center reveals that 21% of the population (approximately one in five Americans) uses fitness trackers. The demographics vary and include young and older adults. Interestingly, more women than men wear fitness trackers. Numerous people worldwide also use fitness trackers, especially in developed and developing countries.
Fitness trackers have been around for several years now, and their popularity has been increasing over time. To this end, researchers estimate that more people will use fitness trackers in the foreseeable future.
What Does Science Say about Fitness Trackers?
Scientific research into the efficiency of fitness trackers has thus far yielded varying and mostly inconclusive results because of the lack of long-term data. However, the current consensus among scientists in the field is that fitness trackers help users to improve their fitness and overall health, albeit to a limited degree.
Research conducted by Johns Hopkins Medicine found that fitness trackers can increase users’ daily step count by more than a mile. Another study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association also shows that fitness trackers are more effective at tracking users’ exercise activities than traditional pedometers.
Overall, science says that fitness trackers help users stay fit and healthy. However, scientists have also raised concerns about fitness trackers’ accuracy.
For example, some fitness trackers may interpret diving as walking or running. They may also overcount or undercount biometric data, such as your heartbeat rate and blood oxygen levels. To this end, the tracker’s data may be misleading, resulting in misinformed decision-making. Fitness and health-related decisions should be based on accurate data, especially if you suffer from chronic health complications.
Fitness tracking technology has come a long way since standard pedometers, but it is not 100% reliable. It is worth noting that some fitness tracker models are more accurate than others – and fitness-tracking technology is continually improving.
Read Also: How to Recycle a Fitness Tracker
What are the Main Advantages of a Fitness Tracker?
Fitness trackers’ benefits are undisputable based on scientific research and user experience. Here is an overview of their main benefits:
Monitoring Your Health
Fitness trackers monitor and measure various biometric data that can give crucial insights into your overall health. For example, they measure your heartbeat rate and blood pressure, helping identify potential heart-related complications such as hypertension. They also measure your sleep quality, which affects your overall health. Overall, they can help detect various health problems early, enabling you to seek medical help before things get worse.
Tracking & Improving Your Exercising Activities
Different exercise activities produce varying results. For example, running burns more calories than walking. Fitness trackers can measure workout activities such as the activity type (walking or running), steps taken, distance traveled, and calories burnt. You can use the data to refine your approach to exercising by adjusting and refining your workout activities.
Keeping You Motivated
Have you added or lost calories today? Getting disoriented and demotivated is easy if you don’t know whether or not you are on track to achieving your exercise goals. Fitness trackers measure your performance, helping keep you focused and motivated.
Read Also: How to Spot a Fake Fitness Tracker
What are the Disadvantages of a Fitness Tracker?
Fitness trackers also have a few disadvantages, including the following:
Fitness trackers are not 100% accurate. To this end, some of the data may be misleading, giving you a skewed picture of your overall health and fitness. Fortunately, fitness-tracking technology is continually improving.
Fitness trackers are widely popular with about 21% of the American population and millions of people worldwide. They are also helpful and can help track and improve your overall health and fitness. However, they also have a few shortcomings, such as accuracy and data privacy, which manufacturers promise to solve by refining the technology. Overall, fitness trackers are worth trying out.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why Do People Use Fitness Trackers?
People use fitness trackers to monitor their physical activity, set fitness goals, track progress, stay motivated, and gain insights into their health and wellness habits.
Are Fitness Trackers Only for Athletes?
No, fitness trackers are designed for a broad range of individuals, from casual exercisers to serious athletes, who want to monitor and improve their physical activity and overall health.
Do Fitness Trackers Help with Weight Loss?
Yes, fitness trackers can assist in weight loss efforts by providing data on calories burned and helping users make informed decisions about their activity levels and dietary habits.
Can Older Adults Use Fitness Trackers?
Absolutely, fitness trackers can be used by people of all ages, including older adults, to help them stay active, set goals, and maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Do Fitness Trackers Have Health Benefits?
Fitness trackers can encourage physical activity, which can lead to improved cardiovascular health, weight management, and overall well-being. However, they are not a replacement for medical advice or treatment.
How Accurate Are Fitness Trackers?
The accuracy of fitness trackers varies among different models and brands. While they may not be as accurate as medical-grade devices, they can provide reasonably reliable data for general activity tracking.
Do I Need a Smartphone to Use a Fitness Tracker?
While many fitness trackers sync with smartphones for data analysis, some models have screens that display key metrics independently.
Can I Wear a Fitness Tracker All Day?
Yes, fitness trackers are designed to be worn throughout the day to monitor your activity levels, including steps, heart rate, and sleep.
Are Fitness Trackers Secure and Private?
Reputable fitness tracker manufacturers take privacy and security seriously. It’s important to research the privacy policies and data-sharing practices of the brand you choose.