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The Truth About Fitness Trackers

One friend claims that walking 10,000 steps per day is the secret to her weight loss plan. Another advises you to aim for three miles. Another says no, make sure you burn x number of calories or to exercise with your heart rate into a certain range.

Everyone has their own spin on weight loss, but who’s right? And more importantly, how do you count 10, 000 steps, three miles, or your calories burned through exercise?

Lately, fitness trackers have begun to provide the answer to that last question. Some of your friends might swear by these devices, but will they help you? Or will a fitness tracker become just another regrettable impulse purchase?

Researchers at St George’s University of London wanted to answer that question, and designed a study to determine just how helpful these little devices can be. So they divided study participants into two groups, and gave members of one group a fitness tracker along with the advice to walk at least 3,000 steps per day. The other group was monitored, but given no direct instructions or assistance regarding exercise or a weight loss plan.

At the end of the twelve-week study, results showed that the group with fitness trackers were indeed more active. But why? We can assume that setting the initial goal of walking 3,000 steps per day was part of this group’s success. But the fitness tracker doesn’t actually make anyone walk… So their success might have been due to the increased accountability of wearing the tracker, or due to the rewarding feeling of seeing results displayed on a screen. Perhaps it was a bit of both.

Now back to you: Would wearing a fitness tracker help you achieve your goals? Possibly, if you feel that wearing the device would hold you accountable to your goals, make exercise more fun and rewarding, or simply help you better estimate steps taken or distance covered. On the other hand, if a tracker makes you view exercise as a chore, then wearing one might become counter-productive for you.

Give it a try and see how it feels. In the meantime, give us a call if you have any questions about your weight loss plan. We can help you devise creative strategies to stick to your eating plan and workout regimen.