It's a common question, are fitbits or any activity tracker any good? You may have a fitbit, samsung gear, apple watch or one of the numerous other makes out there. More and more I hear negative headlines about how we shouldn't bother with them. I have to say I don't disagree with the points that are made by the critics, most of the observations are correct but this does not mean that they are a waste of time.
I think it is a matter of how you use them. I know for a fact, because numerous clients have proven so, that these watches get people moving more than they did. Many people have such sedentary lives, these watches make people aware of how little they are moving and thus the incentive to increase the number of steps that they carry out is great.
One of the biggest criticisms of these watches is the accuracy of them, or rather lack of accuracy. If you wore three watches at the same time it is highly unlikely that by the end of the day you would have the same step count on all of them. Why bother then? Well does it really matter the exact number that you carry out? Or is it more important that you move more in general, we are probably talking a few hundred steps different, not the difference between someone who naturally does 3-4000 a day trying to ensure they reach 10000. In this case the watches do a good job.
One tip that I think is important to remember is to not use the additional calories that it calculates for you, this will particularly be relevant if you link your fitbit to myfitnesspal, the inaccuracy of its calculations coupled with most people rough estimations when they track food can mean it is easy to throw yourself over by a few hundred calories each day.
Heart rate and sleep tracking is another significant element to the functions of these watches. Again, I do think that the accuracy is not perfect but it does make people more aware and accountable to there habits and patterns.
I absolutely believe that fitness trackers have there place. They can be a great encouragement and support tool. Having one does not mean you are going to use it, after all you still need to take action to reach the goals but for most I find it gives you that helping hand and encouragement to get going.
As always, I would love to hear your thoughts and if you have any questions please get in touch and I will get back to you.
Vicki is a Personal Trainer, and Online Coach with the aim of helping others achieve their health and fitness goals via training and habit building for a healthier lifestyle, for life.