The Pros and Cons of Wearable Fitness Trackers

It sounds like a great idea—tracking your every step and every bite in order to improve your health and well-being. But are fitness trackers really a good thing for you in the long run? Read on to discover the pros and cons of one of the latest fitness crazes.

The Benefits of Trackers

CNN conducted a survey of 200 female Fitbit activity trackers to see how they treated the technology. Eighty-nine percent of the respondents said they wore the device constantly, except for recharging. The survey participants found the devices useful for modifying not only their exercise routines, but also their portion sizes, all in an effort to be more active and eat healthier. Almost all respondents reported feelings of satisfaction and achievement when they hit their daily targets, indicating that the trackers were helping them feel rewarded for their efforts.

The Downside of Fitness Trackers

So what could be wrong with a wearable tracker that keeps you motivated and encourages you to live a healthier life? When the survey dug a bit deeper, the women respondents indicated that the positives of the devices came at a cost. For instance, almost a quarter of the women said that if they forgot to wear the device, they were less inclined to exercise, because they wouldn’t receive credit for their efforts. What’s more, significant numbers reported feeling controlled or pressured by the devices or guilty if they didn’t achieve their goals.

Some users of fitness activity trackers have even reported that they start to become almost obsessed with beating their last round of stats, to the point of not focusing on the scenery surrounding them during a bike ride or a run. Certainly the devices can provide great motivation when you need a push or are training to reach a specific goal, but over-reliance on them could backfire. It’s important to be aware of your relationship with this kind of technology. It’s not going away, and will definitely continue to evolve, but that doesn’t mean that you have to let it control your every move. Exercising is worthwhile for your mental and physical well-being—even if you aren’t tracking your pulse rate or distance.