Putting motivation on your wrist

It seems like fitness trackers have taken the market by storm, such as Fitbits, Jawbones, and more.

It seems like fitness trackers have taken the market by storm, such as Fitbits, Jawbones, and more.

According to Wearable website, Fitbit has become a $4 billion company and has sold 21 million devices since 2011.

These are the fancy rubber looking wristbands that can monitor activities, calories, steps taken, sleep, heart rate and diet. And that’s just the beginning.

You set a goal with your Fitbit app, and it displays your daily results.

The app also lets you connect to your social network where you can compete and challenge your friends as well as have their support.   There is some positive peer pressure and accountability going on.

These trackers wirelessly upload all your information to your smartphone or computer to get instant results. Some reports claim one in 10 adults in the United States owns a fitness tracker.

Results from User Testing Blog report that “People expected that once they began using Fitbit, they would start living a healthier life.”

After a week, the study stated that the users “noticed a change in their behaviour and habits. They were more motivated to stay active, especially in how much they walked. They became more aware of the impact their choices throughout the day. This changed their behavior.”

Why the change of behaviour?

“Users felt they had a goal they had to work toward, encouraging them to walk that extra mile – literally. Users stated they enjoyed seeing the amount of calories they had burned and how much closer they were to their goal.”

Becoming aware of day-to-day choices builds habits.  Healthy habits lead to a healthier life.

Being tracked is a personal choice that is not for everyone. Many, including myself, would find the constant data unnecessary and prefer to be unplugged.

However, it is obvious that trackers have helped millions of people become aware of their choices and this is positive.

Depending on personality type, some people thrive on quantitative data analysis and find that motivating.

Lynn Ellis, fitness instructor at the Aquatic Centre finds “keeping track of your workouts and writing things down gives people a sense of accountability and improved motivation.”

Many people enjoy fitness and the pursuit of goals the good old-fashioned way through self-motivation. Yet I can see the draw in having what feels like a personal trainer on your wrist to help motivate you.

Bottom line, know yourself and what interests and motivates you and helps with your commitment.

Obviously millions of people find health trackers very helpful.

Or will this too become another fad?

Joanne Malar is the program coordinator for Summerland Recreation, three-time Olympic swimmer, 2012 Olympic Commentator, kinesiologist and holistic nutritionist.