How to Get the Best From Your Fitness Tracker

Posted on 21 Sep 2016 by Anna Scott
They’ve never been more popular, but new research shows that using fitness trackers might not actually lead to any weight loss, something that might come as a surprise to many. So does a device that’s supposed to motivate actually do the exact opposite? And if this is the case, how can we make our fitness trackers more effective? We take a closer look at these new findings to see if it’s time to put away the fitness tracker and try something new…


Surprising New Fitness Tracker Findings

Running, joggingThe study in question was undertaken by the American Medical Association over a two-year period and involved assessing the activities of nearly 500 volunteers classed as overweight. They were all asked to diet and take more exercise, but half were given fitness trackers to see if they aided them in their weight loos quest. What came as a surprise to participants and the AMA was it was the group without the fitness trackers that ended up losing more weight by the end of the study – the groups with the trackers lost on average 3.6kg each, and the group without lost on average 5.9kg each.

Ryan Jones from ACIstates 'as workspace specialists we know that sitting down for most of the day can have a detrimental effect on your health and can link to dangerous diseases. Fitness trackers allow you to keep an eye on your baseline fitness levels such as resting heart rate. Additionally many fitness trackers now come with reminders, which are surprisingly effective'

A Help or a Hindrance?

Fitness trackerUnderstandably, these results have called into question exactly how much fitness trackers can act as a motivational tool when trying to get more exercise, but experts say there could be a number of reasons behind these results. Citing the fact that they saw a drop off of the usage data as the study progressed, lead researcher Dr John Jakicic has said that this could be put down to simply the novelty wearing off, as it the case with many different sorts of gadgets when used over long periods of time. Another reason he puts forward relates to the corresponding dietary habits of participants, suggesting that those with fitness trackers may have swapped their measurable activity with treats, so rewarding themselves when they saw they’d completed a certain amount of exercise.

Another reason related back to the perception of a fitness tracker as a motivational device. Whereas this could well be the case for those who are goal and results-driven in their nature, Dr Jakicic states that this method might have the opposite effect on others, discouraging those who fail to hit their exercise goals.

So if simply keeping track of our exercise doesn’t appear to be working for many people, how can we use this fitness tracking data to our advantage?


Don’t Link Your Exercise With Your Food

Of course, a balanced diet and healthier lifestyle are the ideal marriage that can help you achieve your weight loss goals, but don’t use the information you get from your fitness tracker to justify slipping back into old habits. There’s nothing wrong with treating yourself every now again – that’s what a balanced diet it all about – but if you find yourself using your fitness tracker to quantify your food intake on a regular basis then you might find those pounds don’t drop off as quickly as you’d expect.


Set Realistic Goals

If you fall into the camp that gets de-motivated easily, take a fresh look at your personal fitness goals. It’s good to aim high, but are you being realistic when it comes to how much exercise you can complete on a daily or weekly basis? If you find yourself wanting to throw in the towel, or throw your fitness tracker across the room, re-evaluate your goals and see if it makes a difference to your motivation, and hopefully this will give you more positive results in the longer term.


Although this new research doesn’t necessarily say fitness trackers are a bad thing, it’s clear that they shouldn’t be treated as a ‘quick fix’, and much like anything that aims to help you lose weight, they should be used in conjunction with other methods to get results. Fitness trackers can provide us with valuable information about our daily activity and exercise levels, and if you want to see if one might work for you, Tesco promo codes, Maplin discount codes and Runners Need discount vouchers can provide a wide choice of products and great savings on a number of different devices.

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