Wearing your fitness on your sleeve

Marina Crichton, Physiotherapist

DO YOU wear a smartwatch or other wearable activity tracker?

A new review in Lancet Digital Health shows that wearing tracking devices plays a positive role in encouraging physical activity.

A wearable activity tracker encourages people to walk up to 40 minutes more per day.

This is about 1,800 more steps per day, and a bonus weight loss of about 1kg over 5 months.

Not a lot in 5 months, but it was a physical activity study.

Other bonuses were reduction in blood pressure and cholesterol and improved quality of life.

Physical activity guidelines recommend 150-300 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity weekly, and using a tracker can help you set daily goals.

It will also provide prompts to get you moving. It makes these daily goals achievable with a small, regular effort.

Where joint pain and reduced mobility are issues, the plus side is that the more you move the more likely you are to reduce your pain and improve your mobility.

We can all benefit from more movement in our day, and the device is an honesty check that measures what we have achieved that day.

It’s too easy to come up with excuses for why we didn’t go for that walk, and let ourselves off the hook, but if the measures aren’t there, your tracker will tell you ‘there’s still time to reach your goal.’

Start by keeping an eye on your activity measured on your device, work out what your daily minimum and maximum steps are, then choose a reasonable amount to set as your daily goal.

Check in each week and review each month.

You’re on your way to better health.

Source APA InMotion Journal Nov 2022 Lead author Ty Ferguson.