Health has always been a top priority for people, as it should. Especially after the pandemic, people have realized how important it is for us to stay on top of our health.
The health industry is also an immensely used and popular topic on the Internet. However, there are always crazy gimmicks circulating the net. We have to be very careful to not fall prey to such marketing schemes. One such popular health device turning these days are fitness tracker bands.
Are these overly advertised fitness bands accurate and reliable? Let’s find out.
How do these fitness bands work?
These fitness bands aka activity tracker is a device usually in the form of a watch, on your wrist. They claim to track your activity and workouts such as walking, running, and cycling. They display the number of calories you burned, hours you stood up and some also show your pulse rate.
But the main question remains, how do these watches track such statistics for our bodies? Let’s take it section-wise.
You may have noticed that these watches have a bright shining light on their backside. This light helps in tracking heart rate. By shining the light on our skin, it can examine our pulse rate. The reading is examined and returned to the screen.
Be aware that this reading is only a rough estimate because for 100% reliable reading an entire machine will be necessary. However, for a small device on your wrist, this technology is pretty impressive.
The real eye-catcher, people rush to buy these watches mostly because of this function. These trackers use many methods to track calories. First with the help of an accelerometer and the second being a heart rate monitor.
The accelerometer measures a user’s acceleration of the body when in motion and will translate it into energy expenditure. The watch also uses your data like weight, gender, and height to calculate your BMR which is the number of calories burned by your body.
This accelerometer is also used to track steps which is another exciting thing for users.
Just like your mobile phone, these watches also have a GPS receiver. This helps users to track routes and mapping out exercises.
Children can also be tracked by their parents with this feature.
How helpful are these fitness bands?
So how helpful are these watches? What can you do by tracking your calories and steps?
There are multiple positive uses of these bands, they can help us stay on top of our health.
Being able to monitor your heart rate and calories is a very helpful feature. Tracking your heart rate can give you an idea of your heart health, and you can get a notification or get aware if there is anything that seems out of ordinary.
This is the main reason why many people buy these watches. You can see for yourself how active or inactive you are. It motivates you to be more active.
You can see how effective a workout is by the number of calories. It helps us show how our everyday activity can also burn calories and most importantly, it helps you stay fit by making it easier for you to maintain a calorie deficit.
Tracking our steps are also not something we can do on our own. As we all know 8,000 steps a day is ideal it shows how far or close we are from the goal.
Most of these watches have goals set for the day and week and show how far you are from reaching your goal. For example, the apple watches have circles to be filled as the day goes by, this motivates people to keep going on and be more active. Once you see how close you are to reach close the circle, it becomes fun.
You can also increase the goal as you get stronger and get different awards.
These features are not enough proof for the fitness trackers so here are some statements and reports.
Johns Hopkins Medicine uploaded a report about these trackers. Seth Martin, M.D., M.H.S says that these trackers help boost heart health, tracking helps people to progress and reach their goal. These fitness bands help bring attention to the activity of people, which they usually ignore.
On the other hand, a report published by JAMA from the University of Pittsburgh suggests that these fitness bands are not very efficient for weight loss.
470 adults were part of this study, half of the members were given a fitness tracker for 18 months. Whereas the other half self-monitored the food intake and exercise. However, when the results came, the group with the tracker lost 7.7 pounds whereas the other half lost 13 pounds.
What to make of this?
Well, the studies above may feel contradicting. Yet, they are not.
The second study does not conclude that fitness trackers do not work at all. It depends on the people, some people will feel motivated to move more after seeing how little they are being active. Whereas some people need more than that to spark change.
Being able to measure our heart rate is a plus point. It helps people stay on top of their health and become aware of any potential problems.
If you think buying these bands will you lose weight, the result may not be as expected. As these fitness bands may be marketed in a way that makes people think it will make them lose weight. But the only thing they do is to track your energy and maybe aid in the process.
So, these fitness bands are not necessarily gimmicks. However, they are marketed in a way that makes it seem like they can do much more than their potential. These are helpful to see how active you are and to set goals, but to achieve them is your responsibility.