Are you thinking about getting one of those all-the-rage fitness tracking watches to help you keep focused on getting fit and trim? Think again. New research suggests the wearable fitness trackers may have minimal long-term impact on your health.
According to a University of Florida study, the increasingly popular fitness trackers such as Fitbits can play a role in motivating people to get more physically active, which is a great thing for the wearers. In fact, many doctors, insurers and wellness programs are recommending the devices and mobile apps as ways to improve employees’ activity levels.
But are they leading to any consistent health benefits, such as reducing obesity or chronic diseases?
The researchers reviewed more than 500 studies on the use of wearable devices and found the participants reported they did increase their physical activity, mainly by keeping track of the number of steps they took each day.
However, the study also found wearing the devices did not lead to reductions in the participants’ cholesterol or blood pressure levels, and older adults with Type 2 diabetes had only limited improvement in blood sugar levels. They also were surprised to find people wearing the devices showed little evidence of actual weight loss.
For the best results, the researchers suggested you pair your fitness tracker with personalized instructions from your health provider to make sure you’re not just focused on a fancy device on your wrist. Changes in your diet, reducing stress and getting plenty of sleep are just a few of the other steps you can take toward better health.