Can Using a FitBit Really Help Improve Our Health?
An old saying proclaims that “Knowledge is power”. In the modern age, a common synonym for knowledge is data. It isn’t an exaggeration to say that data powers a lot of decisions worldwide, on a daily basis. In general, data has helped drive decisions that have improved our lives. But there are instances where one must really question if data can help bring a change in a person’s life. One such example is the data collected and analysed by fitness trackers, popularised by the company FitBit.
Fitness trackers such as FitBit sit on your wrist like a watch, but they do a lot more than just tell time (although there are plenty of trackers that don’t function as a watch) They monitor your pulse and track your movements, in order to give you data on how physically active you have been during the day. This data is also accessible through a mobile application or a website, which you can use to track your activity over the period of a day, week, month or year. After Apple’s foray into this market with its Apple Watch product, more and more people are buying fitness trackers in a bid to improve their health. This is a positive step in the fitness world and signifies a mass shift in the way people think about their health. However, buying a tracker such as FitBit is just step one. There is more to it!
Here is the thing with technology — the devices track your physical activity and provide you with an overwhelming amount of data. However, you are the one who creates all the data! This new spin on the story is what makes these devices interesting. Not only do you have the power to be a creator of data, you have the power to be the creator of your health as well.
All you need to do is put in a bit of physical activity every single day, hopefully a little more with each progressing day. Then you can use this data to track how you are making progress. Gathering such data about yourself will give you newer insights about your personality, help you understand harmful patterns that you can break and discover helpful patterns that can help you reach closer to your fitness goals. Is it too simple to seem true? Probably yes.
Eric Finkelstein, a professor at Duke-NUS Medical School in Singapore led a study on fitness trackers (Source), which concluded with the following remarks: “Knowing how active you are doesn’t translate into getting people to do more and the novelty of having that information wears off pretty quickly.” Many people called the results of this study disappointing. But here is the thing about us humans. When someone says we cannot do something, we want to push our limits and ask ourselves — why not. When someone says a glass is half empty, we want to say the glass is half full. Reaching fitness goals is undoubtedly an uphill task but it becomes simpler and more enjoyable with a fitness tracker.
Fitness trackers such as FitBit have daily and weekly goals that you can try to achieve. For example, the tracker might ask you to walk a few thousand steps per day. Or you could climb a few hundred steps per week. Achieving these goals makes you feel confident at the end of the day and encourages you to repeat that achievement again the next day. Such a mechanism keeps in check the slacker attitude that some people can develop while pursuing fitness goals. So if you are wondering if using a FitBit can really help improve your health, wonder no more. Will power and technology, when used together can create achievements nothing short of miracles. The only question is, are you ready to manifest your fitness miracle?