Wristband Workouts

Let’s review. Before the Fitbit, keeping track of your steps, calories, and sleep wasn’t all that easy. From writing down all the calories you ate in an agenda to using a phone application to count your steps – accuracy was missing. So how exactly has this technology affected the world of exercise? That’s what I’ll be discussing during this week’s blog post. So take this moment to step away from meal prep and reaching your step goals to sit back, relax, and learn more about that fancy gadget on your wrist!

Jawbone, Fitbit, Nike Fuel Band and Apple Watch – all devices that have change the fitness world since 2013. No longer do we need those ugly pedometers or chunky workout planners. This is because these devices sync data to your computer or phone which makes it possible to receive give real-time measurements of steps taken, miles walked and calories burned. The person wearing the device has the ability to see this information as they are working out not after they are working out. This is important because the viewers are able to control their heart rates, know what zone they are in (fat burning, relaxed, speed up), and what they need to do to reach their goals. They no longer have to attempt to remember the data from a workout. No more having to write down how many miles you ran on the treadmill or saving the packages of food you ate.  This makes a fitness goers life a lot easier as witness in an interview:

Before the Fitbit, the only thing I really counted was my calorie intake from my diet. It was more challenging seeing as I had to go and look at everything I ate. With my Fitbit and my “myfitnesspal app” I can look it up and get a more accurate count. Everything for you is at your fingertips making it so much easier.

-Tori

Not only does this wearable fitness technology help people who are already interested in fitness, but it also helps people leap into a fitness lifestyle that fits their needs. Just this year my mother. Paula, received the gift of a fitbit and this was a turning point for her. Paula started going to the gym more whether it was for a zumba or a spin class. As well as this, she became extremely interested in increasing her goals. When I’m not at college, it’s impossible for me to go a day without hearing my mom say, “Guys! I reached my steps today! I think tomorrow I am going to add a couple more steps to my goal”. Therefore, that little buzz on the arm of my mother was rewarding. It also reminds her when she should and planned to work out. According to Munson et al. (2012), “participants found it beneficial to have secondary and primary weekly goals and to receive non-judgmental reminder” (32). Therefore, people who were reminded of their goals were more likely to achieve them, thus they were more likely to keep on track with their workout plan.

When I go to Zumba class, I know I will reach my step goal. When I feel the buzz on my arm during the class, it pushes me to work even harder. It’s also fun to compete with my older daughter, Heather.

-Paula

Therefore working out is seen as an exciting and thrilling activity rather than something people are opposed too.  According to Tate (2015), “this devices frame physical activity as fun rather than exercise, using movements that are inherently fun”. Tate also explains that these tools have the capability to remotely deliver functions of behavioral interventions that have been shown to improve physical activity”. Older exercise tools do not have this same affect. They cannot remind you when to workout, congratulate you on reaching your steps, or give you important information when you need it the most. And even more – they do not make you want to exercise. In fact, these old exercise tools are being replaced by 19 million fitbit users and 75 million myfitnesspal users (Smith, 2016). As well as this, according to a Harris Poll the Fitbit was ranked as the number one most wearable exercise tool with the Nike Fuel band coming in second.

So, is it safe to say that wearable tools have become the new trend or norm? Just from walking around UConn’s campus, one would believe that wearable exercise tracking is all the rage. However, once you look deeper into the numbers – this does not seem to be the case. According to the char on the left, only 21% of all US adults use such devices as the Fibit, Jawbone, and Nike Fuel band. Just a year before this, TechnologyAdvice conducted a study of 900 adults and found that only 25.1% are using these tracking devices. This meaning that 74.9% of the adults are not using them for multiple reason.For example, some just lack interest in these products and other are concerned about price as well as accuracy. Another study presented by the Pew Research Center, stated that 50% of Americans still track there exercise in their heads and 33% still use notebooks or agendas as of 2014. However, an important event to note is that many people of the younger generations (generation y and millennials) have huge interest in these products. As you see from the graph above 34%  generation z/millennials and 35% of generation y are using wearable tracking devices. If this trend keeps prevailing this may mean we we see a large jump in the amount of adults using Fitbits. Although, using this type of technology may not the norm as of right now, if the newer generations continue to be the main users of these devices, it is possible that there will be a wearable workout takeover!

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References

Munson, S. A., & Consolvo, S. (2012, May). Exploring goal-setting, rewards, self-monitoring, and sharing to motivate physical activity. In Pervasive Computing Technologies for Healthcare (PervasiveHealth), 2012 6th International Conference on (pp. 25-32). IEEE.

Tate, D. F., Lyons, E. J., & Valle, C. G. (2015). High-Tech Tools for Exercise Motivation: Use and Role of Technologies Such as the Internet, Mobile Applications, Social Media, and Video Games: TABLE 1. Diabetes Spectrum Diabetes Spectr, 28(1), 45-54.

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