So, you’ve decided to pursue a fitness regimen. You’re planning to visit the gym regularly, or walk a certain number of steps each day, or train for a 5k race. Great job! That’s the first step toward changing your lifestyle, getting healthier, and losing weight.
But are you finding it difficult to keep yourself accountable to your plans, or do you have trouble getting motivated to work out? That’s a common problem, and it’s pretty much what the inventors of fitness trackers had in mind. But do they actually make a difference? Can’t you just make a promise to yourself and then follow through? How could the tracker change your results?
That’s exactly what a group of researchers in the UK wanted to know. After dividing participants into two groups, researchers at St George’s University of London distributed fitness trackers to one group. The other group simply proceeded with their normal lives and fitness plans without the tracker. At the end of the twelve-week study, the participants with fitness trackers had definitely logged more steps (or miles) each day!
So, why did the tracker seem to help? Most likely, there were two reasons behind the “tracker group’s” success:
Accountability. It’s easy to fudge the truth when you’re tired, or simply overestimate your steps or mileage. But that can’t happen when your device is giving you the cold, hard facts. So, using a fitness tracker can hold you accountable to actually meeting your daily exercise goals.
Reward. Just knowing you completed your workout isn’t nearly as rewarding as seeing the results on a screen. The positive feedback from trackers feels good, and motivates users to keep striving toward that daily feeling of “reward”.
So, should you use a fitness tracker? That’s up to you, but it will probably be helpful if you tend to view exercise as a chore. The accountability and sense of reward might be just what you need to keep you feeling motivated to exercise.
On the other hand, some people feel dismay when they glance at their tracker at the end of a workout. Maybe it’s because they didn’t walk as far as they thought, or they were hoping to burn more calories. If the tracker feels distracting in a negative way, then don’t use it.
Really, the answer comes down to doing what works for you. But if you haven’t tried a fitness tracker yet, and need a bit of extra motivation, it might be wise to give one a try. And for other tips on weight loss or following through with your exercise plans, give us a call. We can offer the nutritional guidance and support you need to achieve your goals.