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Can fitness trackers really get you on track?

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Everyone has one; they’re in almost every store and on almost every wrist. No, its not 2004 and not those little yellow bracelets that told us to live a bit stronger; it’s the new wave of popular exercise equipment known as the wristband fitness trackers. Fitness trackers, as an industry, has exploded into our day to day life, reminding us when to exercise, letting us know how many steps we’ve taken each day and supposedly how our sleep is being affected, but are they all that they claim to be and more or just expensive, glorified pedometers?

There are definitely pros and cons to these little wrist reminders that it’s time to go for a run or do some sit-ups. Most are basically pedometers but there are still many brands that offer metrics on heart rate, blood oxygen level, skin temperature, perspiration, body weight and even body mass. Those are good figures to have at your disposal, but one claim is you can monitor your sleep patterns; this isn’t possible. Sleep patterns are measured by brain waves, not wrist movements. It’s nice to have most figures, but for the most up to date information, that’s fully accurate, a doctor is the best place to go.

There is an ever-growing concern about the use of the collected data from most fitness trackers. Currently, all of your running, walking, sleeping, and plenty of other exercising energy is being recorded by your fitness tracker, but what happens after that? You’ve checked your list of 1,000 steps, but who else is seeing this and to what extent? With this massive amount of data being collected, there is a growing concern about if your tracker’s brand will sell to advertisers, insurance companies, doctors, etc. With data and privacy being a huge issue in today’s day in age, always understand the risks in what is collected from your personal hard work.

Whether you’re wearing Fitbit, Nike’s equivalent or the many other brand options for your fitness tracker, there isn’t a ton it does to benefit your health, but there is one unexpected positive feature that they all encompass; motivation. Simply by wearing the fitness tracker, you’re in a constant reminder (and possibly guilt trip) to lace up your shoes, grab your best playlist and work out. However, if you need a constant reminder to run to the gym, it’s an expensive string to tie around your finger to remind you to work out.

All in all, there are good and bad aspects to fitness trackers. If you’re serious about making sure you stay active and want to track a few parts of your work out, than fitness tracker’s aren’t a bad idea. If you’re trying to save money, stay healthy and see a doctor regularly to keep your body in check, it’s best to save your money for other things. Fitness tracker’s can be great tools, but aren’t necessary to maintain a healthy, long-lasting lifestyle.