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Wearable Fitness Trackers: Fit or Fad?


Fitness tracking wristwatches are now widely popular from brands like Apple, Jawbone and FitBit, but are they useful or effective for improving one’s health? Many family physicians have shared their opinion on these fitness trackers and whether or not they have seen a positive effect through their use by patients. While it is difficult for a device to drastically change one’s lifestyle, fitness trackers serve as a constant reminder to stay active and achieve one’s daily activity goals. Users have found that these devices also provide the opportunity to get involved in social networking that encourages one to keep up with their activity logs. These wearable devices are a simple way to get physical performance data and feedback that help patients set and reach their goals.


It is true that physical fitness tracking devices may not be the right cyberhealth tool for everyone. Such devices can be quite costly and they might not bring about the same positive effects for everyone.


One physician encourages all of his patients to “look at their overall priorities, their time, their social supports and their short- and long-term goals.” The great thing is that whether a patient is already active or looking to improve their physical fitness, the fitness tracker provides information that can help one track their achievement of personal goals and continually set new ones. It is important to note that each individual patient should set their own reasonable goals to encourage them to get or stay healthy.


A notable important feature of these devices is the ability to track heart rate. Tracking one’s heart rate can help the user know when to keep going and when to take it easy during a workout. As a physician, you can help your patient to determine their ideal active heart rate and ensure that they don’t push past their limit of what is healthy.


All of the wearable fitness tracking devices available on the market offer a variety of recorded information. A review of an individual patient’s needs should be done to conclude which device is the right fit for them (or whether it is the right tool for them at all). Using a fitness tracking device, the best thing a patient can do is set a regime based on their personal goals. Keeping up with the program is where improvement happens.



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