Fitness trackers. If you don’t have one yourself, you’ll live with, work with or know someone who does. Designed to keep you motivated and active, the Apple Watch, the Fitbit, the Garmin, whatever you have, are all great on paper. But when do they become too much? Are fitness trackers encouraging people to simply move a little more during the day, or are they turning everyone a little bit obsessive?
It’s safe to say that one of the things high on many peoples’ wish lists last Christmas, has barely left their wrists since. Not only is it pretty handy when it comes to knowing what the time is, it can clock up your steps and your calories burned, amongst a few other interesting bits of data, constantly throughout the day.
Your early morning journey to the gym – around 2000 steps.
Your morning workout – usually between 200 – 400 calories.
Your walk to the office – around another 2000 steps.
You get the idea.
But then you sit on my backside for 8+ hours and the data starts to slow down. Your heart rate drops, your calories aren’t adding up as quick as they were earlier in the day and your step count has barely moved from the number it was at when you arrived at work at 9am. A constant reminder that unless you get up and walk about, you won’t reach those pre-set goals you’re so desperate to hit.
Why is it such a satisfying feeling going to bed knowing you’ve hit your calorie goal or you’ve got above and beyond your step target? Does seeing all the little icons on your fitness tracker’s dashboard all lit up in green weirdly make you feel like I’ve accomplished something?
But what about the days when you don’t hit your targets? The days your body needs to rest and you don’t make it to the gym. The days when the only steps you’re taking are between the sofa and the fridge. How do you feel on those days?
It may be hard to admit it, but many people use their fitness trackers as validation. Does the workout you’ve just finished actually count if you didn’t have your tracker logging your every move? After every workout many fitness fanatics, without fail, will find themselves syncing their results to their phones to see how their workouts went – How long was the session? How many calories did it burn? Did they push themselves enough to keep their heart rate up the whole time? It’s bad. And you know it. As a fitness loving community, it’s becoming more and more common that individuals’ are losing the ability to reflect on what their bodies are telling them and how they feel post workout, and instead turn to the readings on their wrist to tell them if they’ve had a successful workout or not.
For many people, working out isn’t a chore, and it’s definitely not something they’re doing just to clock up higher figures. So maybe it’s time you left the tracker at home for a week or so? Go back to simply going for a walk because you fancy some fresh air and back to judging how well your workout went by good (or bad) you feel afterwards.