Do fitness trackers help you lose weight?

fitness-trackerYou have probably seen people wearing some high tech bands on their wrists over the past few years. These bands are called “fitness trackers” or “fitness wristbands.” Some popular brand names are Fitbit, Gearfit, Vivofit. They come in many different colors, shapes, and sizes depending on the brand.  Fitness wristbands have technology that can track certain activities, like the numbers of steps that you take, the calories burned, your heart rate, or how well you sleep. It can also remind you to drink water or move after sitting for too long!

Many people buy a fitness wristband with the hope that it will help them lose weight because the wristband tracks how active you are and gives you information right away. People can then use this information to help make changes to become a healthier person. For example, if your goal is to walk 10,000 steps a day (5 miles) and you see that you only walked 5,000 steps today, you might try to go out for a long walk or do a workout to reach your goal of steps for the day. This information can help a person stay on schedule with a weight loss or fitness plan. Many fitness trackers have apps as well that you can use to check this information on your phone or laptop. These apps also allow you to connect with other people in an online community for inspiration or competition.

But will a fitness tracker help you to lose weight? Now that people have been wearing these wristbands for a few years, there have been some research studies on this question.  The answer so far is, “No,” they don’t seem to help people lose weight after all. There are two main reasons for this. The first reason is that the fitness bands are good at tracking activities, but not at motivating people to go out and do the activities. The second problem is that people often stop wearing the wristbands after a few months, so it is hard to see changes in a short amount of time. However, fitness wristbands do seem to help people who are already active to improve their fitness level, and can help people meet in person or online who share the same fitness goals.

So, if you are thinking about getting a fitness wristband, think about why you want it and what you might use it for. Every person is different and will need their own personal plan for weight loss that includes healthy choices in diet and exercise.  For some people that plan might include a fitness tracker.  For other people, having a fitness wristband can help them become aware of their activities, but they will need other supports for weight loss as well.  Every person has the power inside to make healthy changes! To learn more about nutrition and exercise, you can visit these links on Teenspeak, or make an appointment with your health care provider to find out more about what plan might work best for you.