Fitness trackers like the Fitbit or the Apple Watch are extremely popular, and while there’s been a lot of anecdotal evidence that health trackers are effective, there hasn’t been much science to confirm it. That’s all changed. Two comprehensive studies published recently have given fitness trackers the stamp of approval.
10 Years Of Data Says That Fitness Trackers May Help You Live Longer.
The first, published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, stretched all the way back to 2003. It utilized fitness trackers to study the exercise habits of 4,000 middle-aged men and women. The participants wore health monitors to confirm that they were meeting the widely recommended guideline of 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week. They recorded the results, and over the past ten years, followed up on the data, comparing mortality rates amongst the participants. The results were clear: those who met the 150-minute guideline had a 65% chance of living longer than those who didn’t.
Also on Z Living: How To Prep Your Mind, Body, And Home For Getting In Shape
There IS a Correlation Between Tracking Your Exercise Habits and Your Health.
Now, these results are unsurprising. It’s obvious that the people who work out more have a higher chance of outliving their more sedentary counterparts. But that’s not the point—the real impact of this study is that it’s the first long-term study of fitness trackers and their efficacy. It simply confirms that there’s a lasting correlation between tracking your exercise habits and your health.
Also on Z Living: Triple Threat: At-Home Exercises To Lose Weight & Strengthen Your Body
Rewarding Yourself Helps, Too
Of course, it all depends on how you use your tracker. A second study from the Lancet Journal of Diabetes and Endocrinology analyzed exactly how effective fitness trackers were at motivating their users to improve their health. The researchers split 800 subjects into different groups, each of which had different motivating factors for meeting fitness goals, including financial rewards for themselves and money for charity.
The researchers found that those without an actual, tangible reward were more likely than their counterparts to slack on their fitness routines, despite the aid of a fitness tracker.
The Bottom Line: Fitness Trackers Aren't Just Gimmicks
So what’s the takeaway from these studies? Well, they show that fitness trackers aren’t just gimmicks. They can help you quantify and regimen your exercise, which for many people is the biggest obstacle they face when trying to put together an exercise routine that works for them. For late adopters, it’s an an undeniably intriguing find.
On the other hand, fitness trackers aren’t perfect. While they may be useful for tracking your habits and improving your fitness, they aren’t effective at motivating. It’s just as easy to ignore the alerts, as it is to engage with them. You have to take responsibility for your own health and find what works for you. Trackers are just another proven tool in your utility belt.
Tell us in the comments: Do you own a fitness tracker? How do you track your exercise?