Can a Fitness Tracker Help You to Lose Weight?
Fitness Trackers are all the rage right now, with devices from companies like Fitbit selling in huge numbers and being pretty ubiquitous. Wearing a Fitbit is as much a fashion statement as anything else though. This is a way of communicating to the world that you ‘do fitness’ and that you are up to scratch with modern technology.
Will a fitness tracker help me lose weight?
What’s less clear, is just whether or not a device like this can help you to lose weight and get into better shape. Read on, and we’ll take a look at how something like a Fitbit stacks up in real-world testing and how you can use it to your advantage.
First, let’s take a look at what fitness trackers do well. The first and most important thing that you will get from your fitness tracker is motivation and awareness. At their most basic, fitness trackers are devices that can count steps (pedometers) and tell you roughly how many calories you might have burned on that basis.
This can then bring home the reality of your current activity levels. Many of us will be shocked for instance at just how little we move during the weekends. Those who work in offices and drive in in the mornings like equally find that they don’t move much Monday-Friday.
Seeing this reality written in plain English can make it hard to deny and can encourage you to move a little more and to increase your general activity levels.
This gets even more powerful when you consider the social elements that many fitness trackers come with. A lot of fitness trackers will also let you see how your friends, family, and partner are doing regarding their fitness goals – or challenging them to see who can move the most in a set amount of time.
This too can be an excellent tool for encouraging more activity and getting you to head outside and move more.
Then there are the additional tools and features – things like being able to follow guided workouts and HIIT routines for instance.
Your Wearable Won’t Help You Lose Weight
In the new report, published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association, Jakicic and his fellow researchers assigned about 470 people who were overweight into a weight loss group for two years. One was a standard weight-loss intervention group, in which people were assigned a low-calorie diet, increased physical activity and group counseling; the other group did the same thing, but adopted wearable technology six months in. The researchers included people between ages 18 and 35, an age group that would be more likely to embrace technology like wearable trackers, the researchers suspected.
The results were surprising to Jakicic and his team. The people using wearables still lost some weight, but significantly less than the people who weren’t using them. People in the standard weight loss group lost 13 pounds on average, whereas the people in the wearables group lost 7.7 pounds on average.
There are downsides to fitness trackers too, however. The first is that they are not usually particularly accurate. Heart rate monitoring is only possible to a degree if you aren’t wearing a chest strap and even then, it is only somewhat correlated with calorie burn.
Why fitness trackers don’t actually help you lose weight
Wearing a fitness tracker to help you lose weight? Simply counting the steps you’ve taken and how many calories you’ve burned will get you nowhere when it comes to weight loss, a new study is warning.
After a two-year study, University of Pittsburgh researchers learned that people who rely on fitness trackers lose less weight than their peers who don’t shell out for the wearable technology on their wrists. Most of these gadgets range from $100 to $300.
Many activities can’t be picked up by a fitness tracker at all and while the notion of making sure you burn more calories than you consume (tracked through a fitness tracker and diet app like MyFitnessPal), this can also be an overly simplistic way to monitor your diet that doesn’t take into account such things as your micronutrients or your hormonal balance.
In short, a fitness tracker is a fantastic tool for helping with your weight loss, and it can be very useful. However, it is also important not to rely on them or to perceive them as any ‘silver bullet’ that will help you to magically lose all your weight.
HEART RATE MONITOR: Provides live, accurate heart rate to compatible mobile training apps through Bluetooth Smart technology
FITNESS TRACKER: Waterproof heart rate sensor, Compatible with iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, iPod touch (5th generation), iPad (3rd and 4th generation), iPad mini and iPod Nano (7th generation)Bluetooth Smart transmission technology
STRONG BATTERY LIFE: For optimal battery life, detach transmitter from chest strap after every use