Fitness tracking started with written logs and spreadsheets in the 1980s but has now evolved into an industry that’s set to be worth $19 billion by 2018. Smart watches can track your steps, sleep, heart rate, and more, and we're becoming more reliant on them than ever. But are we becoming addicted to their feedback? And is that necessarily a bad thing?
Benefits Of Using An Activity Tracker
Fail to plan, plan to fail
Fitness trackers help you to put a plan into place. They give your walk meaning and they help to create a routine which adjusts to fit your daily activity. Fitness trackers give you a fantastic insight into where your fitness is at and where it should be going. They can also provide motivation; if you're 2,000 steps away from your goal, you're more likely to go for a walk around the block to make up the steps.
Fitness trackers give your workout accountability. Every activity will be there for you to view via the app and some trackers even share directly with your social media, so everyone knows what you’ve been getting up to. Fitness trackers also mean you can’t cheat yourself and will give you in black and white exactly what results you got from your last training session.
The leading benefit of tracking your steps, distance, sleep, calories and heart rate amongst other measures is to keep you motivated to do more. Whether it’s to earn a Fitbit gold star or score higher than your friends on Nike Plus, fitness trackers enable that extra incentive that gets you moving more, eating healthier, and going to bed earlier. Putting numerative data on your movement means you’re able to see progress and adjust your activities accordingly.
Those with a competitive streak love a fitness tracker because even if they’re not competing against their friends, they can compete against themselves. Quantifying your fitness makes it easy to monitor progress and up your game when needed. The better you are, the more bragging rights you earn and you’ll have the data to back up your brag.
Activity Trackers In Numbers
- Fitbit users walk 43% more than non-Fitbit users.
- 13.5 million health and fitness trackers (HFTs) were sold in 2014 and the numbers are shooting up every year.
- Currently, around one in seven (14%) Brits own any wearable technology.
- Fitbit (the largest wearable company) has 9.5 million active users.
- Employees equipped with wearable technology reported an 8.5% increase in productivity and a 3.5% increase in job satisfaction.
- Most people who use wearable tech are young; 48% are between 18 and 34.
- Growth in the wearables market is expected to increase 35% by 2019.
Are We Addicted?
The problem with fitness trackers comes with the obsession over numbers which aren’t necessarily 100% accurate, which can then rather ironically lead to some unhealthy habits. Is it good for your mental health to be obsessing over calories and steps every waking hour?It's possible that obsessing over fitness statistics can lead to overtraining, and it's always more important to listen to your body than your tracker. Having it as a support system is great, but never forget that it's all just for fun and is nothing to lose sleep over.