There are ranges of fitness trackers in both the market and in various countries today. In a Jupiter Research (2017), there has been a projection that by 2021, over 75 million Americans will be using at least one fitness tracker which may include a range of pedometers to smart watches, fitness wearables to phone apps.
A study done in 2016 indicated a contrary provision by revealing that fitness trackers have increased the amount of physical activity wearers but this has been associated with limits to quantifying every aspect of one’s life. The main danger to the population brought by these fitness trackers have been found to associate unhealthy obsession by which some track every step taken and every calories burned. Further, to some, they have become insensitive to their body’s messages while stereotypically lingering on numbers.
These wearable trackers have got a certain addiction that may capture your physical and mental ability to severe consequences. The following are some of the demerits that you need to away from your path:
- Preferring Data to the Messages given by the Body
Fitness trackers tend to encourage people to rely on data rather than paying attention to their body messages. Being a hindrance to a better workout, it has dictated the success of a workout and health status.
Fitness tracker should not determine the success of your exercise. For instance, you need to evaluate how you feel both physically and mentally. If you feel something wrong, you need not to rely on that tracker – means your body has given you a red signal. Just before doing any good commitment with your fitness tracker, ask yourself if you are able to add weight you are lifting, or if you could take recovery moment or if you could make progress with the patterns of your movements.
2. Data Obsession
Obsession is not a one day commitment to end into it. Well, you may be tracking every activity involving your heart rate and workouts. You might be fixated on a certain number while you track steps you walk and every minute you are active. And not only that, you continue to keeping tabs and onslaught data from fitness. With all these chain of one activity into another, you are likely forming a habit and even more critical, a data obsession.
For example, there was this friend of mine who one time had forgotten his tracker watch just before he had started his training session. Surprisingly, he had insisted on rescheduling his appointment for the next time because he felt that he could not do any progressive work without it. And just as it can be obsessive to track the amount of calories consumed by you and measuring every dozen of food, so it can be with a one wearing a fitness tracker.
To prevent this you have to have one great understanding; that every time you are not likely to perform in a same manner. Certain times you will do well as other times you are likely to be poor. You need a good literal or figurative ‘note to self’. For instance, remind yourself that there are some days you might suffer stress, dehydration, poor nutrition or lack of sleep which may inhibit your performance. You can take care of yourself by taking some days off and enjoy some light of active recovery. But, you might land into some trouble if you endeavor hard to outperform the numbers which the tracker had collected before. For example, you are likely to burnout or sick or maybe injured.
3. Intrinsic Motivation is Reduced
That data which you may extract from the fitness tracker may be an external reward. Though, it can hinder your inner motivations for physical fitness and overall well-being as explained by Lucia Grosaru, a clinical psychologist, a psychotherapist and the author of the psychology blog. With external rewards, they tend to reduce intrinsic motivation for activities that you may find enjoyable. A study published in the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity established that exercising intrinsic motivation is a more powerful predictor of any long-term exercise engagements than external motivation.
4. Fixed Mind on Quantity Rather Than Quality
By tracking the measurements of your heart rate and steps taken or even the minutes while doing activity, you can easily be tapped onto the quantity of numbers you see reflecting on the screen even when the quality of the workout is wanting. For example, you can do a 20 minutes of weightlifting and well, it will increase your optimal heart rate and even burn out your calories effectively. But when that kind of workout had a poor form, it may as well be worthless.
There was a paper published by The Journal of Applied Physiology in 2014 that indicated the value of quality rather than quantity. The paper stated that in exercises, quality counts more than quantity. A specialist in exercise Physiology, Menachem Brodie had given many people whom he had seen edged off to overuse injuries or mental and physical burnout since they had so much concentrated on numbers by trackers.
In short, don’t obsess yourself with doing more minutes of calories burning while working out. Rather, identify yourself with the quality of the workout and enjoy your progress.
5. Engaging in a Comparison Contest
Many people on active training sessions want to be what they see others are. At times we call this ‘unavoidable temptation’. So, even when you see what friends or family fend for to achieve their goal through a fitness tracker, it may not be your call to participate in that competitive comparison. The fact that one make 10,000 steps as you make 5,000 steps ought not to be your basing scenario to adhere to the ends of fitness tracker. You need something calm, relaxed and enjoyable past keeping the tracker gadget you are relying on.
And if you find yourself fallen into a comparative and competitive elements of your fitness tracker by your friends or family or any other group, you are always free to keep off and focus on achieving your personal fitness goals. Get away from comparing yourself to other people working out by a fitness tracker.
6. Concerns in Mental Health Problems
There have been mental health issues such as eating disorders, obsessions and perfectionism which require a limitation from use of fitness tracker. Like people with obsessive eating and compulsive disorders (e.g. anorexia) will be checking their fitness tracker almost hundreds of times per day as they count calories, check their heart rate and use it oppositely from the intended purpose.
Some of the signs that may alert you of mental aggravation are like;
- Choosing activity that burns calories fervently over one that aids pleasure.
- Neglecting responsibilities, friends, families and others just to exercise.
- Exercising only for calorie deficit
- Overthinking on when you will get down to exercise.
7. Retards You Efficiency
You will be holding yourself back when you rely on the fitness tracker to tell you every mileage you have covered on your run or what couple of minutes it has taken you to reach a destination. Marisa Michael, a certified personal trainer and registered dietitian at Real Nutrition in Portland, Oregon advises that if you are pacing your individual workout so that it is the same every time, you may find that you are artificially keeping yourself at a comfortable fitness lane.
8. Thinking It’s a Magic Fix-All
Wearing a fitness tracker have made people to imagine highly of how they can reach the workouts of their goals. As is the case, they falsely assume that you have a greater motivation wearing a tracker in order to perform better. However, in a study done and published in the Journal of the American Medical Association indicated contrary to what this is that those who had self-monitored their diet and exercises had consequently lost more weight than those who used a fitness tracker to monitor their workouts. The capture by the study reflected that there was effectiveness or efficiency of workouts when people had not use a fitness tracker.
Therefore, if anyone workout and keeps too much focus on fitness tracker data, he can be detracted from his/her personal desire and ability to do one or one more set or even one more mile.