Fitness trackers can be a helpful tool to use when you’re trying to get healthy and lose weight. They offer personal accountability and goal tracking, as well as group sharing options aimed at increasing your motivation by competing and challenging your friends and family.
As the technology in fitness trackers has evolved, so have the metrics you can track. That small device on your wrist is continuously counting and updating data, like:
- Step count
- Calories burned
- Workout time
- Sleep time
- Quality of sleep
- Resting heart rate
- Max heart rate
- Heart rate variability
Over the past several years, fitness trackers have grown in popularity, and so has the research behind them. Some studies have shown the positive benefits people experience after using a fitness tracker for several months. Other studies have shown that a fitness tracker isn’t enough to create lasting behavior and health changes.
“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.” (Eric Finkelstein, source)
Another researcher, Dr. Mitesh Patel, compares fitness trackers to a regular gym membership:
“People pay a few hundred bucks to join a gym thinking it’ll engage them in new behaviors. But beyond the first few weeks, most people don’t go. Similarly, giving someone a fitness tracker won’t change their behavior. It can help facilitate changes, but it won’t, by itself, drive change.” (source)
So do fitness trackers help your training?
Yes, if used in the right way.
Your fitness tracker accumulates a LOT of data. But if you don’t do anything with that data, you might find your fitness tracker spending more time at home than on your wrist. A fitness tracker becomes more of a hindrance than a help when its use is unclear.
To get more out of your fitness tracker, take a step back and think about the fitness and health goals that you’re working toward. Once you’ve defined your goals, the next step is to come up with a strategy. A coach is a great resource when it comes to strategizing your training plan for the next several months. Finally, use the data that you can pull from your fitness tracker to support your training.
Peak! in Paradise can help you develop a physically active lifestyle at any age. If you are looking for guidance on what your daily workouts should look like for your personal fitness goals, contact us today.