Do fitness trackers really help you get fit?

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Fitness trackers are everywhere, and most of them assure that they'll help you get fit. However, do they really deliver on what they promise?

Fitness trackers are becoming really popular, especially among the tech-oriented crowd. But can they really help you get fit? Or are they just a fancy digital watch?

People on a traditional weight loss program lost more weight

A study conducted by the University of Pittsburgh, shares that using a fitness tracker, didn't really contribute a lot to weight loss. Their study took two years to complete, and they compared people that used a fitness tracker and people that used a weight loss program.

Their results showed that people who used a traditional weight loss program without a fitness tracker lost more weight than people who used a fitness tracker alone. Subjects that used a traditional weight loss program lost 5.3 more pounds on average compared to people that used a fitness tracker.

Fitness trackers can be inaccurate

In a separate study, researchers from the University of Lancaster found that a lot of fitness trackers are inconsistent, and can give inaccurate readings. Psychologist Dr. David Ellis, lead researcher, warns that fitness trackers are "a rough guide only."

He adds that the findings of the University of Pittsburgh were not completely unexpected, "given the lack of evidence provided by manufacturers when it comes to demonstrating the effectiveness of their devices."

Dr. Mitesh Patel, a University of Pennsylvania specialist in medicine and healthcare management says that "weight loss requires engagement." He and his team also conducted a study and found that fitness trackers are only effective with financial or social incentives. An example would be a cash prize in a workplace wellness program, or working out with a buddy; these can improve a person's chances of losing weight and keeping it off.

However, they're not saying that we should be quick to throw away our fitness trackers, but we should understand that fitness involves a lot of motivation and using a device is not enough.

Go to the next page to find out how you can keep yourself fit!

Keeping you and your family fit and healthy

Did you know that you don't actually need to go to the gym to keep yourself fit? There are a lot of things that you and your family can do to keep fit and healthy!

Here are some ideas:

  1. Feeling a bit adventurous? Try a bootcamp-style workout! You can try this: jumping jacks, lunges, high knees, push-ups, triceps dips (off a bench or curb), and sit-ups. Do each exercise for 60 to 90 seconds; rest in between exercises as needed.
  2. Do some sports! Sports are a great workout, and the good thing is that if you're having a lot of fun, you won't really feel like you're getting tired. Go out for a round of basketball or play some badminton with your kids.
  3. Walk around. Walking is actually a good form of exercise, and you can do it anytime and anywhere! You can also take your kids on a walk to the park or a walking tour of your city.
  4. Go out for a hike. Hikes are a great way to connect with nature and keep yourself fit at the same time! It's also a great experience to have with your family as nothing really beats the wonder of nature!

Sources: scientificamerican.com, dailymail.co.uk, pbs.org

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Written by

Nasreen Majid