Although the Fibit is perhaps the best-known device in the fitness wearables world, it’s hardly the only one. In fact, consumers spent $1.5 billion on these tracking tools last year alone. The latest generation of fit-tech not only measures the amount of steps you’ve taken, but additional biometric information, such as heart rate and sleep “efficiency.”
This sophisticated system is thrilling for some, yet daunting for others. In fact, more than half the people who purchase a fitness wearable eventually stop using them — many within six months.
Fitbit and similar devices can inspire users to reach that magical number of steps — often 10,000. Of course, physical fitness experts have always urged people to build more walking into their daily routine. But for many enthusiasts, it’s this new wearable technology that makes the challenge so real — and fun — that they’re finally likely to make that extra effort.
Along with boosting motivation, many fitness wearables measure such often-mysterious factors as calories burned and the intensity level of your various activities. If you’re the type who will draw inspiration for this kind of concrete information, the close monitoring is a definite plus.
On a purely practical level, fitness wearables aren’t necessarily as accurate as one might expect. Current technology just can’t factor in intangibles such your unique body chemistry and metabolism. A study published in the Journal of American Medicine (JAMA) found that measurements such as heart rate and calories burned could be significantly off.
On a more emotional plane, however, for some people getting bogged down in technology interferes with the pure joy out of looking at the surroundings on a country walk, or the sinking into the meditative state of mind that comes from a jog or even a treadmill walk.
Ultimately, whether wearable technology is right for you will likely come down to whether you’re more susceptible to tech fatigue, or inspired by the benefits of increased information.