I was recently quoted in an article for Fitness Magazine on being too attached to your fitness tracker. You can read the whole article here. It’s a useful piece that talks about the trappings and triumphs of using fitness trackers. My full responses to the questions that were asked follow below.
-How can using a fitness tracker help someone reach their health goals?
Fitness trackers can be great at reminding you that you need to do something physical each day. They provide you with quantitative data that you can use to make sure that you are making progress or maintaining a level of physical fitness that you are satisfied with. The data you collect can also be used to create some friendly competition with friends which will help create the ever important community aspect to living well.
-What are some signs that someone may be too attached to their fitness tracker?
Fitness trackers are a tool and need to be kept as such. You don’t have an emotional reaction when you go to your toolbox to use a screwdriver, and you shouldn’t have one when you check your device’s data either. If you find yourself compulsively checking it, are worried about checking it, or using it to calculate punishment for indulging on pizza and beer, you need to reevaluate you’re priorities. These devices work best when they make you feel good about your fitness and make you more mindful of your health and wellness in your day to day life.
-If someone does think they’re too attached to their tracking app or device, what are some things they can do about it?
Take a break from it or change the way that you think about your device. Your fitness tracker is a tool to help you achieve your goal, and it is not the goal itself. You want to look at the data with the same emotional attachment as you would counting taxis on a street in New York City. There’s going to be variability in your day to day performance and you don’t need to worry if you came in 200 steps short of 10,000. You’ll have other days when you’ll go above and beyond and the average will be increasing over time. Slow steady progress is what’s important. The tracker is just an indicator if you are heading in the right direction.