The Downside of Fitness Trackers

Runners are a competitive group, oftentimes competing against ourselves. If one of your New Year’s resolutions is to focus on health and fitness in order to chase new PRs, don’t let your fitness tracker control your life. Use wearable technologies as a way to monitor your progress and not a way to define who you are!

Fitness and activity trackers have become an essential accessory, sometimes secondary to our smart phones. While collecting data in order to see our progression towards our goals is the main advantage to using these devices, studies have shown that people are growing a little too attached to their trackers and even depending on them to make simple decisions.

The market for fitness and activity trackers have boomed over the years that Athos, an athletic performance company, plans to launch fitness clothes that measure muscle activity, heart rate and respiration in real time. Its marketing material encourages consumers to “upgrade” and become “the ideal version” of themselves.

A recent study was conducted in which 89% of 200 women who wore a Fitbit wore the device consistently, only taking it off to recharge the battery. It also influenced their decision-making in terms of their diet and getting their steps in for the day. Ninety-five percent of the participants added weekly exercise to their regimen in order to exceed the number of steps they took, and 76% changed their eating habits to healthier foods and smaller portions.

The women in the study believed that it was important to quantify their day and felt a surge of happiness, self-satisfaction, pride, and motivation when their device notified them that they had reached their goal for the day. However, 45% of the women felt “naked” when they were without their Fitbits, 45% felt like their activities were wasted if they weren’t being tracked, and 22% said that they were simply not motivated to exercise if they weren’t wearing their Fitbit.

While wearable technologies have its advantages that allow people to monitor their activity and performance, it’s important to unplug sometimes and allow your body to go with its natural rhythm.

This article was originally published on CNN online.