Medium size

Activity Trackers: Do They Make a Difference?

Activity trackers seem to be the rage this holiday season. Apple, Samsung, Fitbit and more are available and each one seems to have different features from the one before it.

We would like to help you make a bit of sense of the options to look for, but also discuss the success of activity trackers. It is clear they are effective at tracking your activity, but is all this data collection and presentation resulting in lifestyle changes that make a difference in your fitness and overall health and well being…or is it just another gadget that will be abandoned in a month or so?

A recent study by the Journal of Medical Internet Research looked at just that and more.

They evaluate a variety of activity monitors that measured physical activity and provided feedback via an app. 93 behavioral changes were monitored and evaluated. They found that all the monitors provided feedback and methods for self-monitoring, as well as behavioral goal-setting and prompts/cues for rewards.

However, the success of such data depends on how the trackers are used and if the users know how to implement behavior and habit change. In other words, a whole lotta data is just that if we don’t change our behavior.

Bottom line, when looking at activity trackers, examine the techniques used to provide you with data and if that works with you and your lifestyle. Just because a tracker has a lot of bells and whistles don’t mean those features work for you. Perhaps a simpler gadget with more effective features is the way to go for you.

Just a few of the popular activity trackers out there and their features are listed below. We urge you to look deeper at each one to be sure it works best with your goals and lifestyle.

  • Fitbit Flex: $99.95 Charge lasts approx. 5 days, battery rechargeable. Data accessed via Mac, Windows, or smartphone. Data is uploaded via Bluetooth to your phone or wirelessly to your computer. Activities tracked: Active minutes, calories burned, distance, sleep and steps. Does not track elevation/stairs or heart rate. Worn as a wristband.
  • Fitbit Orb: $49.95 Battery lasts four months, replaced, not charged. Data accessed via smartphone, Mac, Windows. Data is uploaded via Bluetooth to your phone or wirelessly to your computer. Activities tracked: Active minutes, calories burned, distance, sleep, and steps. Does not track elevation/stairs or heart rate. Worn on a wristband via a clip.
  • Up24 by Jawbone: $149.99 Charge lasts approx. 10 days, rechargeable. Data accessed via Bluetooth to your smartphone. Activities tracked: Active minutes, calories burned, distance, sleep and steps. Does not track elevation/stairs, or heart rate. Worn as a wristband.
  • Withings PulseO2: $119.95. Battery lasts approx. 2 days, rechargeable. Data accessed via Mac, Windows, or smartphone. Data is uploaded via Bluetooth to your phone. Activities tracked: Active minutes, calories burned, distance, elevation/stairs, heart rate, sleep, and steps.

You can see there are a lot of choices out there and a wide variety of prices. Go to each product’s site for more details on how each tracker works in detail. Try this quiz to help you evaluate your personality and methods that work for you for behavioral change.

Featured photo source: Wikipedia Commons.

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *