Do Fitness Trackers Really Help You With Your Fitness Goals?

Do Fitness Trackers Work

It’s pretty hard to miss these days the ubiquitous fitness trackers turning up on wrists at the gym, the supermarket and even at nice restaurants.

Fitness trackers have almost gone beyond their purpose – becoming a popular fashion accessory in their own right.

But do fitness trackers work? And can they actually help you with your fitness goals?

The most popular fitness tracker are the range from FitBit with almost half of the fitness trackers sold globally manufactured by the company. And having just released a new version of their fitness tracker in Australia, you can expect to see more FitBits showing up on wrists everywhere.

There have been a few studies designed to track how accurate FitBits and other trackers are when it comes to measuring your exercise. While accuracy varies somewhat between models, studies have shown that FitBits are generally pretty good at tracking the number of steps taken.

When it comes to tracking distance travelled, this accuracy drops. FitBits estimate your stride length based on your height, so if you have a shorter or longer stride for your size then it’s not going to be as accurate.

There are also some issues when it comes to tracking the number of calories you’re burning at any given time. The device has a tendency to underestimate how much energy you’re expending with some activities (like cycling) while overestimating the energy expenditure at other times.

But when it comes to deciding if the FitBit is helpful, accuracy isn’t the only factor. It’s also useful to understand if using a FitBit changes the behaviour or wearers. Unfortunately no long-term studies have been completed yet on this factor, but anecdotal evidence suggests that wearing a fitness tracker makes you more likely to exercise.

A number of users have reported walking up and down their living rooms to get the step count up to their daily target. Other people report choosing to walk to their destination rather driving in order to add more steps to their tally.

So it can be assumed that wearing a fitness tracker serves as a reminder for you to be more active, rather than an incredibly accurate tracker of said activity.

But if it gets you exercising more, isn’t that the real benefit?