THE PROS AND CONS OF FITNESS TRACKERS

Technology is everywhere. We are always connected to something. Fitness trackers have become a must have for a lot of people. I, myself, even have one. It's always on my wrist, even when I sleep. I use it to monitor my heart and my sleep. However, it got me wondered, what are the pros and cons?

what is a fitness tracker?

An activity tracker, also known as a fitness tracker, is a device or application for monitoring and tracking fitness-related metrics such as distance walked or run, calorie consumption, and in some cases heartbeat. It is a type of wearable computer. The term is now primarily used for smart watches that are synced, in many cases wirelessly, to a computer or smartphone for long-term data tracking. Electronic activity trackers are fundamentally upgraded versions of pedometers; in addition to counting steps, they use accelerometers and altimeters to calculate mileage, graph overall physical activity, calculate calorie expenditure, and in some cases also monitor and graph heart rate and quality of sleep. Some also include a silent alarm


The pros

You know more about your real caloric depense

Since fitness trackers track down everything you do, it then tracks down all the energy you spent. It can be really motivating to see how much you moved in a day because we often don't realize how much we really did.


You get more motivated

As for me, it gets me more motivated. Like I said, I know more about the steps I took, my heart rate, the calories I've burned, my sleep, etc. so it motivates me to see when I improve these aspects. In some cases, you’ll probably register for a fitness app compatible with your tracker. All of these apps give you the option to connect with other users. Let it be friends, family or strangers. As you know that others can track your data as well, you’ll work harder. Trust me, there is no bigger motivation than wanting to prove yourself to others. Plus, you’ll also get a chance to find workout buddies. Seeing how others perform will help in finding those at the same level. You’ll be able to encourage each other and share your experiences.


It alerts you of a panic attack in some cases

In all honesty, I bought myself a fitness tracker because of the heart rate monitor. I sometimes get a panic attack and I know it when it is too late. I now have the reflex to check my heart rate when I start feeling bad so when it's too high, I know. I also have an app on my watch called ''relax'' and it helps me breathe right and relax.


It tracks down how you slept

It might not be the most accurate thing ever but it gives you an insight on how you slept. It is really good if you are like me and want to understand how was your sleep.


The cons

It can be expensive

The price range of a fitness tracker is really big. I got mine for 40$ on Amazon while some can be 500$ or more. I get tracks of everything, notifications for all my social medias, phone calls, messages, etc. and all the things I need on mine plus it is waterproof so it is not worth it in my opinion to buy an expensive one if your budget is tight. I would spend that 500$ on a personal trainer instead...


More weight gain than the opposite

Some evidence has found that the use of these type of devices results in less weight loss rather than more. According to a two-year study, wearable fitness trackers designed to coax users into busting moves and burning calories throughout their daily lives didn’t help anyone lose weight. In fact, overweight dieters using the arm-mounted gizmos actually gained more weight on average than those using old-fashioned, tech-less dieting schemes. The study, published Tuesday in JAMA, contradicts earlier studies that found the trackers can boost weight loss. But those earlier trials tended to be smaller and shorter.


Sleep detector can be false

Sleep tracker devices have a tendency to underdetect wakefulness. While sleep trackers can collect a lot of information about your slumber habits, there’s one important thing they generally don’t do, says Alan Schwartz, M.D. , director of the Sleep Disorders Center at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center: “They don’t measure sleep directly,” he says.

Instead, they often measure inactivity as a surrogate for estimating sleep, he explains. “Most sleep tracking devices make some guesstimate as to how much you’re actually sleeping.” For exact data about your sleep habits, you’d have to do a medical sleep study , which monitors brain waves to analyze the stages of sleep you cycle through during the night. Such studies are helpful for diagnosing conditions like sleep apnea and other sleep disorders. Still, tracking devices can definitely be useful for helping you recognize patterns in your sleep habits, Schwartz says. Do you feel sluggish when you sleep from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. but energetic if you shift your shuteye to 11 p.m. to 7 a.m.? Do you sleep better when your bedroom is cooler or on days you exercise? Is your sleep disrupted if you have caffeine after lunchtime? “The tracker will give you something to reflect on,” says Schwartz – often with user-friendly graphs or reports that make it easy to spot trends. If you have any concerns about the quality of your sleep, it’s a good idea to talk to a doctor. If you’re an otherwise healthy person who just wants to gain some insight into your sleep routine , tracking devices might be a good option. “Just take the numbers with a grain of salt,” Schwartz says.


My conclusion

It's a useful tool but not a necessary one. I bought it myself for really cheap because I didn't need one with all the extras. I just needed one to monitor my heart rate. I don't think it is worth all that money.

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