As a society we’re all very attached to technology. I love my phone so much I’m getting closer to answering the question, “How many children do you have?” with the answer “Three. One human, one canine and one technological” because there are times that I know I’m more attached to my phone than any living creature.
I realize that this attachment is a problem (which is a subject for another post entirely) but I also know that isn’t only my problem. This attachment issue isn’t just in day-to-day life but it’s especially prevalent in the health, fitness and wellness world with the increasing popularity of wearable fitness trackers.
Be honest, how many times have you heard, seen or maybe even said the following statements….
“I ran naked today.” (read: without my Garmin)
“I forgot my FitBit at home and now my whole week is ruined.”
“I had to pace around my apartment to reach my 10K steps before I could go to bed.”
“Great day! I reached all of my tracker goals today!”
“I need to workout harder/longer. My calories burned during class were not enough.”
Statements like these scare the crap out of me because it makes me wonder if we’re already taking a numbers obsessed culture of fitness enthusiasts and fueling the fire (pun not intended).
Don’t get me wrong, I love numbers both personally and professionally. However, I know how difficult it can be to stop letting a number on a scale rule someone’s life and now with this very sexy technology, there’s an even easier way to be able to feed that instant gratification need with immediate quantification of every physical (and not so physical – like sleep) effort.
The appeal of the technology and its usefulness for someone starting on a health, fitness and wellness journey is undeniable but it’s the need and attachment to the feedback that concerns me. In our efforts to get healthier are we starting an unhealthy addiction to fitness feedback?
Despite the imperfect technology, the wearable fitness tracker trend isn’t going away soon. Instead, the data driven sect is being welcomed by the fashion industry – one well-known designer is getting on the bandwagon (the Tory Burch FitBit Flex is due out this spring) and further elevating the wearable fitness tracker as a status symbol. I’m certain that other fashion designers won’t be far behind. With the evergrowing appeal to the masses, I’m certain that the technological accuracy of tracking will only continue to improve as well.
Cards on the table, I’m definitely tempted by these lovely pieces of flair. Even though the marketer in me should know better, I’m not immune to the allure (I’m a package slut extraordinaire) and the instant gratification (I am a New Yorker at heart you know). I even contemplated getting a tracker to monitor my sleep quality (before the big sleep apnea diagnosis came down) but I knew it would be an open door to my own obsessive nature and decided against it. There was a time that I only did cardio on machines to (imperfectly) monitor my calorie burn. It took me a very long time to appreciate exercise for it’s health and wellness benefits to my mind, body and soul instead of just acknowledging the numbers.
Instead, I continue to develop a closer relationship with my third child, my iPhone. I do utilize apps to track my intake (this is a new thing that I thought I’d try because if I’m going to make clients do it in my private practice, I figure I’d better walk the walk) my running, for music accompaniment and to navigate any distance further than the 3 blocks away from my house with GPS and for now that’s about all I can bear without starting to slide down the slippery slope of needing more.
I want to envoke my #optimistflip mentality for the potential that this accessible and relatively affordable wearable fitness tracker technology can do to motivate people to lead healthier lifestyles. However, from a personal and professional standpoint, my antennae sense danger for the many people interested in health, fitness and wellness that also have the precursors to addictive or obsessive behavior (aka the ” better, faster, harder, longer and more” mentality.)
Perhaps time, evidence and improved technology will change my mind but for now, I remain cautious where wearable fitness trackers are concerned. I wonder how they will play a part not only in my future private nutrition practice but in the health and fitness industry as a whole.
What are your thoughts on wearable fitness trackers? Do you have one? Why or why not? If you have one, why did you choose it and how do you like it? If not, do you want one?