Looking on various fitness sites, mentions of expensive fitness trackers and simple heart rate trackers aren’t anything new. In fact, I’ve had a coworker and former boss inform me that he gets results by tracking his heart rate and staying in the fat burning zone. Of course, with a lot of research, I have found that the more calories you burn, the better. It’s really that simple. More calories will include more fat.
But, as appealing as those expensive tools like FitBit and Nike FuelBand may be, that’s a lot of money, not something that you should take lightly. I certainly don’t. Fitness trackers have become a part of the regular wardrobe of many self-proclaimed fitness buffs. With all the numbers these machines spit out at us, we think that we can nail down the secrets to health and good quality fitness. A recent study has shown that 58% of women report buying or intending to buy one of these items.
Do Fitness Trackers Work?
The benefits are obvious in some ways. You can track all sorts of body metrics that could be related to fitness. Joshua Klapow PhD, a clinical psychologist at the University of Alabama at Birmingham says,
Research has shown that if you want to stick to a new habit, monitoring is one of the best ways to make a change. A recent study presented at the American College of Sports Medicine showed that those wearing pedometers spent less time sitting and more time active than those who didn’t use them. So yes, seeing those numbers motivates you to be more active.
Why Fitness Trackers May Not Work
There are two sides to every story, as you may have noticed. Everything in moderation. When you become obsessed with healthy habits measured by these particular machines, you may go overboard. You may become lost, not really knowing where you’re at by relying too heavily on the gadgets. Klapow says,
You can get so caught up in tracking that it overtakes you emotionally and psychologically. Over-tracking syndrome can be problematic when the behavior you’re trying to engage in becomes secondary to the numbers. In short, you may become obsessed with the numbers and forget about the bigger picture and the real goal.
This could even lead to interruptions in your fitness routine or less exercise, because you are stopping yourself to check the device.
When You Should And Shouldn’t Use Trackers
So in other words, trackers can be a good thing in your fitness routine, but you can also overuse them and abuse them. It’s a matter of finding that fine balance and using them to your advantage. If you find that you are actually stopping or going overboard because of a tracker, you may want to leave it at home for a while.