How Fitness Trackers Are Helping People Get Active Again

Woman in sports clothes checking her fitness tracker on her wrist

Did you know that the fitness tracker on your wrist or phone can do a lot more than just monitor your steps? A recent study found that monitoring exercise can increase your everyday physical activity and help you stay active.

The Study

Using data from 141 study comparisons and 121 randomized control trials, researchers at the University of Copenhagen’s department of public health tried to find the impact that exercise monitors have on everyday physical activity. They primarily focus on fitness phone apps and Fitbits.

The study found that using fitness apps increased the daily physical activity of the participants by about 1,235 steps and about 48.5 minutes of moderate and vigorous physical activity per week. In other words, says Rasmus Tolstup Larsen, a researcher in the study and a management consultant at IQVIA Healthcare, people who use activity trackers are more active than people who don’t use such devices or apps.

Man checks his fitness bracelet while running

While the study raises many questions, Dr. David Asch, a professor at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania and executive director of the Center for Health Care Innovation, also said that further analysis is necessary to understand if the different trials in the study used incentives and rewards.

How to Use Fitness Trackers Better

If you are hopeful that 2022 will be a year of good change for you and you’d love to stay more active, Larsen recommends getting a monitoring device or using the fitness app on your smartphone. Dana Santas, a CNN fitness contributor, says that tracking apps are efficient in helping people stay more active because they add a level of personal accountability.

A fitness tracker on a woman's hand

To make the most of your fitness tracker, experts recommend you to set specific goals and track for their completion, in addition to adding incentives so you can hit your daily targets continuously. This could be a number of steps per day, miles you have run, or another tangible milestone.