Wearable Tracking Devices: Do They Really Work?

2016-04-27

Everybody seems to have a Fitbit these days; and while it might be annoying to listen to your co-workers brag about the number of steps they've counted, you might also be curious about these wearable tracking devices. So why all the excitement? Do wearable tracking devices actually work? And who needs to know how many steps they took, anyway? Keep reading to find out the answers to these questions and more.

What is a wearable tracking device?

Simply, a wearable tracking device is exactly what it sounds like: it's a device that you wear (usually on your wrist; a few companies offer clip-ons) that may be able to track any number of things, from heart rate to steps taken to distance traveled to sleep patterns. Some have other, non-fitness related features, like GPS or an alarm system.

Do you really need a health and fitness tracker?

Not necessarily. But there are plenty of benefits to owning one. If you are extremely active, health-conscious, or if you participate in a sport like running or cycling, you will probably love having the ability to track your own every move and use the data to improve your performance. And those who are not very active but aspire to be may find that a fitness tracker gives them the accountability and motivation they need to get going. But not so fast: if you're only interested in one feature and you don't plan to make full use of the data tracking software, you may find that your smartphone will work just as well. A smartphone is just as accurate at counting steps and can check your heart rate, too.

What's the Downside?

If you're thinking about purchasing a health and fitness tracker, the main thing you should know is that there is a wide discrepancy between models and price points. If you plan to buy a fitness tracker, do your homework to make sure you're getting the device that's right for your lifestyle and budget.

The Bottom Line:

The key to getting the most out of a fitness tracker is making use of the information it gives you. What's the use in correlating your sleep patterns with your caffeine intake if you're not going to use those discoveries to get a better night's sleep? Just like with your workout, you'll get out of it only as much as you're willing to put in.

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