General

Do Fitbits and other tracking wearables actually make you fitter?

Created by:

 
2 Jul 2016 - General
 

Fitbits and other wearables that track activity, heartrate etc. are relatively new on the market, but seem to be going places in terms of adoption rates (i dont know any figures about the prevalence of wearables in my country, but many friends my age seem to be wearing a fitbit of some kind).

The research so far seems quite preliminary. Here are some articles I could find online: http://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/can-digital-fitness-trackers-get-you-moving-201508278214 and http://knowledge.wharton.upenn.edu/article/are-fitbits-and-other-wearables-really-keeping-us-fit/

The issues raised so far seem
1. The accuracy of monitoring. 
I find my own wearable quite reliably accurate in predicting which movements of mine are steps and which are not. 
However, proponents of wearables usually say that the actual accuracy isn't what matters, but it is the trending of information, and how someone uses that to improve their health that matters. For example, it is not about accurately documenting how many steps someone takes, but rather, it is letting the wearer know that they are doing better or worse than before, to motivate them to improve. 

2. The sustainability of health improvement
Most detractors seem to say that wearables may not improve health in the long run, while proponents say that it really depends on your personality and how you use the technology. 

Opinions?
I am Fitbit wearer and I find it helpful in getting more steps in my day. Do you use wearables? Would you recommend your patients to get them? 

I am a Fitbit wearer as well. I personally find knowing how many steps I took or seeing how many steps my friends would take as a motivation to move around more. There are days when I would enter the FitBit challenges with friends like the Work Week Hustle or Daily Showdown. Good fun competition! Yes they may not be as accurate as arm swing plays a factor as well in the counting of steps but being reminded that on these number of days you weren't moving around enough is a good motivator to g...
 (Total 205 words)
Yes, thanks for all the sharing. I thought more about this. I agree with Lianne that monitoring does help to improve our awareness. Monitoring my activity, work out and steps does not help me get off my seat, put on my shoes and go for a run. In fact, at one point in time, I was so discouraged by my declining running speed that I stopped timing myself when I was running. For low hanging fruit like number of steps in a day, it does somehow prompt me to walk a bit more when I notice that I have be...
 (Total 107 words)
I do think that you should buy something that fits your lifestyle. It would be unnecessary to buy food if you weren't really hungry (but we still do). Fitbit wearers are, as what Dr. Hong said, usually into the healthy lifestyle. I do run as much as possible and I use tracking apps on my phone to monitor my progress. However, I do understand your point that it may "not be beneficial" in the long run. For those who are really into sports and such activities, it will always be benefi...
 (Total 134 words)
I think Fitbits and similar wearables do help to some extent. For one, they increase awareness of the user/ wearer, and this awareness can help motivate the wearer to immediately take action and monitor their progress. However, I think these wearable gadgets may be only as useful as the wearer is motivated by them. Some studies show that in time, the novelty of wearing such gadgets wears off, and thus the wearer’s physical activity reverts back to normal. On the other hand, I also do think that ...
 (Total 141 words)
I would say people who wear Fitbits are those groups of people who will be more fit in their lifestyle. They are motivated for a healthy, fit lifestyle, has a regular exercise programme and this will be greatly enhanced by Fitbits or similar type of device. Personally, I would not recommend those devices to my patients. Advises of lifestyle modification like exercise regimen would be sufficient in the specific cohort of patients. I do plan to get myself a Fitbits in the future, seem like a co...
 (Total 104 words)
I don't have Fitbit but I have a Samsung Gear S2 that was gifted to me and I love it but I don't love it for its fitness features. I love it because when I am working on a patient I don't constantly have to check my phone---the watch is the extension of my phone. Now in terms of fitness, I installed fitness apps on my watch but I don't really wear my watch when I go to the gym or when I go boxing. Once upon a time I used to even count calories and I used MyFitnessPal and that wor...
 (Total 209 words)