Wednesday, August 14, 2013

The Dark Side of Fitness Trackers

I just saw this article on ABC  It reminded me about a dark side of fitness trackers that I've seen pop up over the internet of late. I've heard of at least three people who ended up pretty much being a slave to their fitness trackers. People going to crazy lengths in order to always increase their daily step totals or once a "Board leader" stay on top of the board. Crazy stuff that in at least one example resulted in injury. I don't believe that this is extremely common among fitness tracker users.

In a previous blog post I talked about the benefits/limitations of the Fitbit Zip. I certainly hope that my post didn't spur anyone one on to walking overkill.

 Just yesterday a  coworker asked me how I was liking it. I had to be honest and tell her that I rarely think about it.

I do wear it, and on some days  I do glance at the totals at the end of the day but mostly I just wait for the weekly email that tells me about my weekly totals. Truth be known after the device revealed a few surprises - I generally cover more steps than I expected and many are at an aerobic pace - there was nothing new to learn.

My activity level is pretty stable and doesn't often change. I'm not willing to give up what little family time I have in order to become a board leader. Actually, I'm not sure exactly how one becomes a board leader and maybe that's a good thing. :)

My one disappointment with this device is that it doesn't give so much as a nod to my T-Tapp workouts and/or many of the other activities I enjoy. This despite the fact that my heart rate is definitely more aerobic during these activities than at any other point of the day. So for me, I feel that the Fitbit is of limited use.

That's not to say that it won't benefit you - only that you may want to think about how you will use it before you invest in one.

Here's two ways  I can definitely see it being of use:

1. You are extremely short on time, frequently end up taking your cardio indoors due to time restraints and lack of day light  AND want to put the minimum time in on your treadmill or other home equipment possible. In this case you could wear it and attempt to get as many quickly paced steps into your day as possible then use your home equipment to make up the difference between your recorded steps and your goal.

2. To periodically check on your activity level by wearing it for a week at a time every so often. This is most likely how I will end up wearing it.

When all is said and done I find that two  quotes keep floating through my mind.

"Moderation in all things!"
"If some is good more is not better!"


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