Will A Fitness Tracker Change Your Life?
CARP APPROVED PARTNER SPONSORED CONTENT
It’s no secret, physical activity has been linked to better health outcomes in older adults, including: lower rates of cancer, heart attack, stroke, improved mental health, better sleep, and living longer.
In spite of this, 61% of Canadians are medically overweight or obese, and are not exercising the 150 minutes per week recommended by Canada’s public health agency. The problem seems to be rooted in motivation; changing behaviors is not easy for any of us and frequently “get fit” ambitions end in failure.
There are literally thousands of fitness apps, but will this new fitness technology of “fitness trackers” with apps help you to meet your personal goals? In recent years there have been several studies that have investigated the effectiveness of these new fitness technologies on increasing physical activity into daily life. The idea is that these Apps have tools that help you set goals, measure your progress and act as a surrogate coach to motivate people to exercise. In a 2016 study published in Frontiers of Public Health, the authors examined research from around the world on the effectiveness of fitness technology. Of course the App developers and device manufacturers would have you believe they will turn a couch potato into an athlete in a few months, but what does the research reveal?
Some studies have shown definite positive results including: decreases in body fat, and waist circumference, while others are inconclusive with no measurable positive affects, and in fact some have reported people stop using their technology within six months. In summary, the research is inconclusive, fitness technology works effectively for some, but not for everyone; individual motivation is a personal issue. However, the decision to actually buy a fitness tracker does indicate a degree of motivation, and if you combine your fitness program with other reinforcing strategies like: exercising with a friend, setting realistic and attainable goals, and rewarding yourself when you’ve achieved those goals, the addition of fitness tracker will have a positive impact on changing your behavior to exercise more often.
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