We all know that exercise is not only good for us, but also helps us to lose weight. But of course, simply knowing the facts is only Step One to a new lifestyle. Most of us still find it difficult to stick to an exercise regimen, and exercise doesn’t help you if you don’t do it!
Fitness trackers were created with this purpose (and a few others) in mind. You might have heard a friend say that she’s walking 10,000 steps per day, but do these types of plans actually help people get in shape and drop pounds?
According to at least one study, counting steps does work. Researchers at St. George’s University of London divided participants into two groups, and gave one group fitness trackers along with orders to add 3,000 steps per day to their walking routines. The other group of participants were monitored living their usual lives. At the end of the twelve-week study, the group with fitness trackers did indeed take more steps per day.
So, what happened? Was it setting the goal that mattered, or the fitness tracker? Probably a bit of both, because we know that setting a goal is the first step to accomplishing something. But because most of us experience difficulty sticking with a fitness plan for a twelve-week period, it is reasonable to assume that the fitness trackers accomplished two tasks:
- Participants were held accountable. It’s hard to lie to yourself about how many steps you’ve walked, or simply miscalculate them, when your device is telling you the facts!
- Seeing verifiable results was rewarding, and motivated participants to stick to their plans.
So, is there any downside to using a fitness tracker? Yes, potentially you could begin to view your exercise as a chore, and we know that negative associations with exercise can discourage us from following through. The bottom line is this: If you find a fitness tracker rewarding or motivating, then yes it will help you get in shape and lose weight. If you dread looking at it or feel that it’s reminding you of falling short of your goal, then don’t use one. It’s really that simple!
As always, use the tools that work for you, and don’t worry about what works for someone else.
If you have any questions about your exercise routine or weight loss in general, give us a call. We can evaluate your plans and make recommendations to help you lose weight safely, and keep it off in the long term.