Are fitness trackers useless?

21 September 2016
Are fitness trackers useless?

Fitness trackers and apps are very popular right now, as people tell everyone about every stinking run they've done, like we're supposed to care. Endless photos of people sweating on their lycra, and phewing about a quick 2K they've just done.

Still, at least they're being helped by their Fitbits, Nike+, and other gadgets they're using to stay fit, right?

Well, one study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association is suggesting that they're no help at all.

For two years, researchers at the University of Pittsburgh studied 471 overweight people, and found that those who used devices to monitor their physical activity lost less weight than those that didn't.

All participants were on a low-calorie diet, and partook in regular increases in physical activity. They also had group counselling sessions, while researchers looked into the usefulness of the trackers and wearable technology devices.

Six months into the test, half of those who volunteered where given a fitness tracker. By the end of the trial, those with gadgets lost an average of 3.5kg, while those who were left to work it out in their heads, lost an average of 5.9kg.

Dr John Jakicic, who was the lead researcher with all this, thinks that it might be a case of people who use fitness trackers might end up feeling like they can reward themselves with treats more than those who didn't wear trackers.

Of course, it's nice to be able to accurately know who far you've run if you're pushing yourself to go further, or faster. However, it seems like there's a case for just working out until you're knackered, and doing things the old way.

TOPICS:   Health   Gadgets

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