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The Not So Healthy Side of Fitness Trackers

by admin » on Apr 14, 2021 0

It’s just about bedtime and you’re ready to sleep, but a final glance at your fitness tracker reveals you are 100 steps away from your goal. You start to pace and find yourself doing laps around your bedroom in order to finally hit that magic number. 

Can you relate to the scenario described above or another scenario like it? You’re not alone.  Seemingly ridiculous bursts of activity prompted by fitness tracker reminders are actually very common. In fact, according to a new survey, fitness tracker anxiety is actually far more common than you might believe, impacting individuals’ stress levels, fitness goals and even compelling individuals to get rid of their fitness trackers altogether. 

The new insights about fitness trackers come from Joybird, who surveyed over 1,800 people about their attitudes and habits towards their fitness trackers. The survey found that 50% of respondents that wear fitness trackers found themselves doing an unplanned activity once or twice a week having been prompted by their fitness tracker.

On one level, this unplanned activity can be a force for positive health. Individuals who spend long hours sitting at a desk could definitely benefit from a movement reminder or two throughout the day.  However, things take a turn for the worse when these reminders start to trigger anxiety and guilt about lack of movement. 

According to the survey, over 47% of people have felt stress, anxiety, or pressure to work out as a result of their fitness tracker. The top aspects of fitness tracker usage that caused stress was guilt about not wearing a tracker, guilt about ignoring notifications and prompts to be active, and stress about not meeting daily activity goals.  For individuals that struggle with eating disorders and compulsive exercise as related to disordered eating, it’s important to understand that the stress from fitness trackers may be an unhealthy trigger for compulsive activity. Fortunately, groups like the National Eating Disorder Association offer lots of information and resources for support. 

You can take a look at the full results on stress and fitness trackers here.

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