Fitness trackers

Fitness trackers actually boost your physical activity; here’s how

Are fitness trackers really good for our health? Researchers say they are actually quite effective in improving physical activity.

Fitness trackers have become part of everyday life for many people, especially those looking to increase their physical activity. These wearable activity trackers are a “low-cost tool” to help people cope with their physical inactivity, the researchers noted in a paper, published in Lancet Digital Health.

There was a huge boom of 1,444% in portable tracker shipping worldwide from 2014 to 2020. Despite demand, there is still some skepticism about their effectiveness.

The research team analyzed 39 experimental studies on the effectiveness of wearable activity trackers. This included nearly 164,000 users from around the world, spanning both clinical and healthy people across all age groups.

They found “consistent evidence” that such devices actually affect people’s physical activity. Specifically, the results suggest that the use of these devices helped improve physical activity, body composition and fitness, which is equivalent to 40 extra minutes of walking per day (1,800 extra steps) and a reduction of approximately one kilogram of body weight.

“Overall results from the studies we reviewed show that wearable activity trackers are effective in all age groups and for long periods of time,” said study lead researcher Ty Ferguson of the University of South Australia (UniSA), said in a press release. “They encourage people to exercise regularly, make it part of their routine, and set goals for weight loss.”

“Keeping in mind that these were not weight loss studies, but lifestyle physical activity studies, so we wouldn’t expect dramatic weight loss. “, added UniSA Professor Carol Maher, co-author of the study, referring to the weight of one kilo. reduction. “The average person gains around 0.5kg per year in weight loss, so losing 1kg over five months is significant, especially considering that two-thirds of Australians are either overweight or obese.”

Besides these physical benefits, they may also have mental health benefits. The devices have helped improve depression and anxiety by increasing physical activityFerguson said.

This highlights the effectiveness of these activity trackers in boosting physical activity. The study provides “sufficient evidence” to recommend their use, according to the researchers.

Such inexpensive and user-friendly tools could prove useful in today’s world, where physical inactivity has become a “major threat to population health”.

“Low-cost interventions to address physical inactivity in clinical and non-clinical populations tailored to the demands of modern lifestyles are needed,” the researchers wrote. “Wearable activity trackers (consumer devices that provide information to the wearer, such as fitness trackers, activity-tracking smartwatches, and pedometers) could fill this need.”