I love this weeks topic – fitness trackers. Mostly because I have been researching them for myself, but also because it’s such an easy way to become conscious of everything you do to help your body. Even if you’ve never heard of a fitness tracker, chances are you have seen one. They are usually worn on the wrist and looks like a bracelet or a watch. So, who’s wearing them? What exactly do they do? How much do they cost? Sit back with your green smoothie, and I’ll delve into some stats and information on these little wearable devices that can help elevate your fitness goals to a new level.
In 2013, Fitbits, Jawbone UP’s, and Nike FuelBands accounted for 97% of all smartphone enabled activity trackers sold in stores or through big e-commerce sites. Most wearable fitness trackers are worn by younger individuals with 48% being between the ages of 18 and 34 years old. Men and women purchase these devices equally. Twenty-nine percent of wearable tracker owners make over $100,000.00 a year. In the year 2018, it is estimated that total wearable shipment volumes will grow to 111.9 million.
So, what do they do? The question is, what DON’T they do! They detect the number of steps taken in a day. An algorithm translates an accelerometer reading into distance traveled and helps estimate activity level and calories burned. A good daily step goal is 10,000 steps. They detect your pulse. A sensor opposite a LED monitors fluctuations in light transmitted through your finger. The rise and fall of light indicates heart rate. If you are between 60-100 beats per minute you are in normal range. They can detect body temperature. A thermometer that sits against the skin assesses surface temperature. Abnormal spikes or drops are early warning signs of sickness. The fitness tracker can also detect sleep. Sensitive 3-D accelerometers detect small body movement during the night. When paired with continuous heart rate monitoring, it offers a rough idea of sleep stages, light, deep and REM. A good healthy amount of sleep is between 7 to 9 hours of sleep a night. There are so many other things that they are capable of detecting and monitoring. Dr. John will discuss that further tomorrow morning – St. Christopher Minute 6:30am EST channel 146.
What makes these little devices so popular? They are a great motivational tool. They get people to move and get more exercise. Being able to track your progress is very encouraging. The most popular brands are Fitbit, Garmin, Jawbone and Misfit. You can look on Amazon and find more, but these currently have the most market share.
Some other questions people ask when researching fit trackers are what kind of limitations do they have? Trackers with GPS are more accurate when counting steps. If your device does not have GPS, it may not be as accurate when counting calories burned as it may miss steps when performing certain activities. Do they only come in watches? Most do. The Fitbit has a clip that will attach to your clothes for a more discreet look. Will they work with my phone? Yes. Most have IOS and Android Apps. Some IOS apps are more streamlined and work better than android apps. Just look at the reviews for the app before you buy, they are always very helpful. Last but not least, how much do they cost? The price range varies widely from $50-$200 and up. You should consider your overall goal before you go out and buy the most expensive one. If you are using it to only count steps the cheaper model would work just fine for you. If you are an athlete who wants to measure distance and heart rate, the trackers with GPS would be more beneficial for you.
Intrigued? Think this would be a helpful tool for you on your fitness journey? Tune into The Tim Ridley Show tomorrow at 6:30am EST on channel 146 for the St. Christopher Minute, and Dr. John will answer all of your fitness tracker questions.