3 Reasons to Ditch Activity Trackers

Is it just me or are activity trackers all the rage? 2017 might be dubbed as the year we micromanaged ourselves to death. Ok, maybe that was a bit dramatic but that’s honestly how I feel about these gadgets at this point. We have a gadget for everything and while some are super beneficial, there are others that just take it to far. I’ve had an Apple Watch, and the original Fitbit. The Fitbit bit the dust on a kayaking trip down the Verde River. I made it out, the Fitbit did not. I will say, it was really entertaining to watch the Fitbit track steps traveling down the river until its battery died. The Apple Watch I still have but I never use it. Why? Here we go.

They weren’t helping. 

Real talk, if at the end of the day you’re lapping the kitchen table to get your steps in, this is not a win. Building activity into your day should be done in a way that’s sustainable, and lapping the kitchen table is anything but sustainable. As it turns out, I’m not the only one who feels this way. Research is coming out on the effectiveness of activity trackers and it isn't looking good. You would expect if you took that extra time every night to get your steps in, lapping the kitchen table or not, you would improve your health. That’s the goal, right? Well, research says that just simply isn’t happening. A study published in 2016 shows no difference, nada, between those who used a Fitbit for a year and those that didn’t. That kind of data should have you rethinking these expensive devices. Stop stressing about step numbers. For all we know, the added stress of having your every step tracked, completely negated the health benefits of the exercise.

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Serious love was lost with my workouts.

Ok, when you find yourself choosing an activity for the calorie burn and the potential step benefit over your actual enjoyment, something is terribly wrong. I was so frustrated with my Fitbit when I realized it wouldn’t track my time on my spin bike, that I actually found myself swinging my arm while I peddled just so it would track some of what I was doing. At one point I stopped doing spin and started running for the steps, which as it turns out hurts my knees pretty bad and I just love spin so much more. When I upgraded to the Apple Watch and could have my calories tracked via my heart rate, I found myself foregoing yoga, which I loved, for activities that burned more calories. I don’t think this was the intended result of the trackers but this is my experience. I fell out of love with my workouts. The workouts I once loved felt like work. I was clocking in and clocking out and I hated every minute of it. Ditching the trackers allowed me to fall back in love with my workouts. 

They're a glaring symbol of diet culture.

The trackers are definitely getting less ugly but their symbolism is not. Trackers show the world we need to be monitored, that we can’t be trusted to listen to our bodies and practice mindful movement. Everything about that just doesn’t work for me anymore. I can be trusted, and so can you. You’re more than capable, you can find activities you love to do and you will do them when it feels right. Some buzzer on your arm that tells you to stand when you’re on a road trip or sitting in a meeting is just annoying. It’s just another device that tells you you’re not enough. We don’t need anymore of that messaging in our lives. 

Looking for a better way forward? Download my 3 Secrets to Kicking Diets to the Curb. It will have you feeling like you have a real path forward, and that's really what we're all looking for anyway. 

Till next time,

Dr. Claudia