Becoming more physically active and shedding a few pounds are two goals most adults strive to achieve. In today's busy world, though, it can sometimes be quite challenging to do so.
Enter the newest fitness craze - wireless fitness trackers.
These small devices are typically worn around the wrist and can track information about your overall health. Fitness trackers can sync wirelessly with computers or smartphones to display data including the number of steps taken throughout the day, calories burned, and the quality of your sleep. Also, most trackers allow you to enter the foods you've eaten throughout the day to keep track of calories and nutrition.
This latest advancement in personal fitness has many ecstatic, claiming it’s the answer to long-lasting weight loss. Could it be true? Do fitness trackers really help you effectively lose weight and live a sustainable, healthy lifestyle?
"While fitness trackers certainly can be a helpful tool to track health and weight loss progress, the individual still has to stay motivated to make dietary changes or keep up with that new exercise routine," says Lori M. Noble, MD, a primary care physician at Spruce Internal Medicine, located at the new Penn Medicine Washington Square. "Fitness technology can certainly add positive reinforcement, but it can’t pick an individual up off their couch or take the donut out of their hand."
Still, the health and fitness technology market is growing by 20% each year, making fitness trackers more popular by the minute. There are dozens of trackers currently on the market -- FitBit, Jawbone UP, and the Nike Fuelband being the most common.
All of these devices have corresponding apps that allow you to view and interact with all of the information it’s capturing. Most also have social features that allow you to connect with friends and other users online.
In addition to these apps, there are several health and fitness programs that have similar lifestyle tools to help you track your activity. MyFitnessPal, RunKeeper, Fitness Builder, and MapMyFitness are all apps that help you track your fitness without having to buy a somewhat costly fitness tracker.
Many people have made tracking their fitness a part of their daily lives. Because this technology is still somewhat new, there are questions that people have about the effectiveness of the devices.
Fitness tracker or not, the most important thing to do is to get out there and stay active.
"Perhaps one of the most basic keys to sticking with an exercise routine is to make it fun – pick an activity that you enjoy so you actually look forward to scheduling it into your day," says Dr. Noble. "And if you start to get bored, change it up. Rotating activities keeps your mind and your body engaged."
For those of you looking for extra motivation, sign up for the Penn Medicine Radnor Run on October 26, 2014! This fun, 5-mile run will give you something to work towards as you stay active this summer.