Exercise is often a grind. If it were as easy as popping M&Ms, we’d all be slender, muscled and looking back fondly at our high school gym class. Instead, many of us struggle to stay active, watching our waistlines expand year after year like a stream of maple syrup on a stack of pancakes.
Modern technology, however, appears to help provide many people with some motivation.
A review by Australian researchers of numerous exercise studies shows that people who use activity monitors like fitness trackers, pedometers and smartwatches are more apt to exercise more frequently and, as a result, lose weight.
Investigators reviewed nearly 400 exercise studies that involved 164,000 people around the world who used wearable activity trackers.
Scientists say people who used the devices walked an average of 40 additional minutes a day, or about 1,800 extra steps, while losing 2 pounds over a five-month period. That might seem like just a pinch of weight. But researchers say it’s significant from a public health perspective.
Regular exercise is one of the best ways to ensure good health. Physicians say finding low-cost ways to fight obesity is essential. Physical activity helps ward off heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and cancer.
The project’s lead author notes there is widespread skepticism about the effectiveness of the technology.
But the investigation shows wearable tech overwhelmingly provides a benefit to users. Its ability to encourage exercise is long-lived and seen across all age groups.
Staying fit takes effort. But it can be fun. Play tennis. Ride a bike. Walk your dog. It doesn’t matter how you get your limbs moving. But remember: M&M tossing is not a sport.