Do fitness trackers make a difference?

However, as recent research reminds us, using an activity tracker alone doesn't lead to weight loss. A large study published in JAMA compared weight loss between two groups of overweight adults, one of whom used a physical activity monitor and the other recorded their daily exercise sessions on a website. The results showed that participants who used the devices lost an average of five pounds less than those who didn't use them. A study conducted by researchers at the Duke-NUS School of Medicine compared employees who used activity trackers with those who didn't.

They found that a cash incentive increased employee activity levels for six months, but the positive effects of using the activity tracker were not maintained when the incentives were discontinued after one year. The study concluded that physical activity trackers did not significantly improve health outcomes, even with incentives. For activity trackers to have real positive effects on health, it would be necessary to implement longer-term incentives for activity trackers to be effective. Most fitness trackers transmit data related to your cardiovascular status based on your heart rate during and after physical activity.

In the new study, which Maher highlighted that no manufacturer of fitness devices paid for, his team found that trackers have a significant effect on the amount of exercise people do and a minor benefit for fitness and weight loss. If your goal is to improve your cardiovascular fitness, fitness trackers can provide you with information to help you achieve it.

Nikki Seeley
Nikki Seeley

Hardcore pop culture specialist. Devoted beer buff. General pop culture advocate. Wannabe zombie evangelist. Professional bacon guru.