So What? Strategies for your new fitness tracker

I could be wrong, but I think I am the only person left on earth without a fitness tracker. man trail running to show oakville physio clinic and sports physioThis could be a FitBit or some other device, but the idea of tracking one’s physical activity (usually via step count) has gained popularity with advancing technology and linking with social media. I’m sure many of you received a tracker of some type over the holidays with the hope of using it to improve your fitness, lose weight etc.

Researchers in BC ran a study recently involving 431 participants, primarily men. They were given a fitness tracker for 6 months but not given any other education or follow up. At the end of the period, data was collected. Across the population there was a decrease in step count, despite 57% of people thinking their steps had actually increased. This trend held when accounting for things like ethnicity, sex, age, and season. Amazingly, this study was funded by the manufacturer of the device, and they still couldn’t get a positive result.

So what? Should you throw out your fitbit? Of course not. But it is important to recognize that a fitness tracker will not by itself make you more active or more fit. It must be used together with goal setting to make a difference. I wrote a blog a few weeks ago on how to set goals, so I won’t repeat it right now. Here is a good approach to get the most out of your new device

1) Wear your tracker for at least a week, making sure it includes a weekend. This makes sure you have a good idea of what your normal is.

2) Go through the SMART goal setting process. Set a short term, process goal like increasing your step count. This makes sure you have complete control over the outcome

3) Re-evaluate after two weeks. Adjust your goal accordingly

If you follow these steps, you’re more likely to be successful in meeting your lifestyle objectives. The whole team here at Palermo Physiotherapy and Wellness want you to meet your new years resolutions, and we’re here to help should you run into issues along the way.


Tim Childs, PTOakville Physiotherapist Tim

Registered Physiotherapist