Fitness watch 

If we could just be inspired to utilize activity monitors, we could enhance  our health and extend our lives. These are the findings of two new research  on the benefits and drawbacks of using fitness trackers to track and direct  our movements. 

Fitness watche are more accurate than hand-logging your activity in a  journal or notebook because we aren’t objective when we’re looking at our  progress. Trackers are cold impartial judges — they simply report our  activity back to us. 

If you set a goal such as increasing your steps by 1000 per day you’ll  immediately get feedback on that goal and whether you achieved it. This  can motivate you to build on progress and increase your movement and  exercise. 

Tracking your activities 

One of the simplest measures that almost all fitness trackers monitor is  daily steps. Just like a simple pedometer the, the tracker will count how  many steps you take every day. A general guideline for maintaining healthy  behavior is 10000 steps per day the monitors can generally track our steps,  pace, stance (sitting or not), distance, energy expenditure, and heart rate,  and are predicted to be a popular holiday present again. However, the  absolute correctness of these figures is questionable, as previous  investigations have discovered flaws in several of the monitors’ data.  However, the studies reveal that the mistakes are usually stable, thus the  trackers can consistently represent how our motions alter from day today. 

The larger issue with activity monitors has been that we haven’t been able  to determine whether the data they create is genuinely related to our 

health. We have yet to see proof that what most trackers claim to be healthy  is indeed healthy. 

Consider the notion that we should exercise moderately for 150 minutes per  week, for as by walking briskly. Most activity trackers take these principles  into account when determining how much exercise people should get. 

Those suggestions, however, were based on studies in which respondents  were asked how much they remembered moving. Monitors had not been  worn by the participants. 

Volunteers were used in one of the research, which was published in the  American Journal of Epidemiology. Almost 4,000 middle-aged men and  women wore activity trackers for a week as part of a government-funded  study on American health. The researchers compared the tracker data to  their self-reports to develop and validate an objective measure of how much  

exercise individuals were getting. (Whether they wore the monitors or not,  their movement patterns were remarkably comparable.) 

Researchers then tracked the participants for up to ten years, comparing  their names to those in the National Death Registry to see if fulfilling the  150-minute-per-week guideline had any effect on how long they lived. 

Yes, it did. The researchers discovered that men and women who exercised  moderately for at least 150 minutes each week, according to their activity  trackers, were around 35% less likely to die prematurely than men and  women who were less active, in their trackers. 

Dr. Timothy Church, a professor of preventive medicine at Pennington  Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, La., who wrote a commentary  to accompany the new study, says that while the findings are unsurprising,  they do provide the first scientifically compelling rationale for owning an  activity monitor. He points out that when your monitor tells you to walk for  30 minutes most days, it now has concrete proof that doing so may help  you live longer. 

He also expects that more research will soon be conducted to determine  exactly how much and what forms of exercise can reduce our chance of  developing various diseases, with findings that could be incorporated into  our activity monitors. The devices could then tell us whether today’s 

lunchtime walk was enough to reduce our risk of Type 2 diabetes, or if we  should go for another walk around the block. 

However, the benefits of activity monitors will, in the end, be determined  by whether and how we use the equipment. And, according to a study  published in The Lancet Diabetes and Endocrinology, people can be funny  when it comes to their fitness trackers. 

Scientists in Singapore recruited 800 office workers for the study and gave  most of them an activity monitor, however, some were le, ft out as controls.  The others were told to utilize the monitors to meet basic fitness targets,  with one group winning money and the other earning money for their  selected charity if they met those criteria. The last group was told that  meeting the goals was beneficial to their health. 

People that were given money to exercise exercised the most after six  months. Other people who used activity trackers saw a small increase in  inactivity. 

The monetary incentives stopped after that, but the participants were still  encouraged to use their monitors and accomplish their fitness targets. The  researchers checked in again six months later. The people who had  previously received money to exercise were the ones who were exercising  the least by that time, according to the monitor data. The nonprofit group’s  activity had also decreased. Surprisingly, participants in the group who  were given monitors but not money were exercising more now than they  had been at the previous check. 

However, because most of the participants had stopped wearing their  monitors most of the time, the data for everyone was restricted. 

The takeaway from these two studies appears to be that activity trackers  have the capacity, and increasingly, the scientific backing, to influence how  long and well we live. But they won’t be able to realize their full potential  unless we figure out whether and how they genuinely drive us to move. 

“CMuchmore research is required,” says Dr. Church. 

“Take a look at Pokémon Go,” he adds, referring to the interactive phone  game in which users seek for and capture cartoon characters that appear to  be in the real world. Players who walk or run a certain distance are  rewarded in the game. “That might be the future of activity trackers,” Dr. 

Church says, referring to scientifically-based health monitoring that is also  entertaining.

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