We all know the gifts that get mocked this time of year…fruitcake, another tie for dad, socks…we may have previously considered a health and fitness gift on the naughty list too. After all, what exactly was the gift giver implying? However, as Christmas quickly approaches, many might be hoping to find a fitness tracker under the tree.
While gadgets that measured heartrate and other physical markers were once thought to only be in the realm of elite athletes, that is no longer the case. The popularity of fitness trackers has skyrocketed and now there are more and more brands flooding the market. But, are these souped-up pedometers really worth the investment?
David Pogue of Scientific American says yes. While the accuracy of the step counting, heart rate measuring and sleep quality evaluating of these devices might not be perfect, the fact that they keep activity in the front of the wearers’ minds is the most important feature. He points out that the devices succeed not because of their scientific qualities, but their motivational ones.
Most of the devices synch with your smart phone so you can easily get progress updates throughout the day. In an effort to hit your step goal, you might park father from the store on the way home. Even small changes like increasing steps can have a big impact. Prevention magazine advocated the small changes approach with a quote from an East Carolina University psychology professor who said, “"When you focus on just a couple of small changes at a time, you begin to ingrain some healthy habits that last for a lifetime.”
So, the Christmas gift of a fitness tracker really could be the gift that keeps on giving.