Fitness Trackers Need to Provide More than Just Data

Fitness trackers are good at counting things: steps you walked, calories burned, active minutes, how long you slept, and so on. While the accuracy of these devices can be dubious, a tracker can at least tell you how active you are compared to other days–well, assuming you keep wearing it. According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, more than half of the people who purchase fitness trackers stop using them, and one-third stop in less than 6 months.

What fitness trackers and their apps aren’t good at–yet–is providing real insights. While looking at your fitness data can help motivate you to maintain a level of activity, data alone probably doesn’t tell you that much that you don’t already know. They don’t help you get healthier or more active. You have to do that yourself.

For fitness trackers and other health-related devices to be useful, they need to go one step further and provide real, actionable advice.

Read the rest of the article on Macworld.

6 thoughts on “Fitness Trackers Need to Provide More than Just Data

  1. I think that most people want to use fitness as a means of losing weight with a lower-priority goal of getting fit. Maintaining fitness may be a goal after the weight is lost.

    Tracking is a means to get there as you can see how well or poorly you’re doing but I think that personal advice, whether from your doctor, trainer, friend, or support group may be more useful in getting you to develop a plan and then executing on that plan.

    It would be difficult for something like an App to make recommendations because people have vast differences. An App wouldn’t know that someone has a chronic leg injury which makes some exercises difficult. A friend might see that and factor that into a recommendation. A support group might offer a suggestion, get some feedback that the suggestion wouldn’t work because of some condition or restriction and then offer something else.

    • I disagree. An app can ask you; it can let you enter mitigating circumstances. For example, you tell the app what the maximum you can do is, in steps or in active minutes.

  2. I think that most people want to use fitness as a means of losing weight with a lower-priority goal of getting fit. Maintaining fitness may be a goal after the weight is lost.

    Tracking is a means to get there as you can see how well or poorly you’re doing but I think that personal advice, whether from your doctor, trainer, friend, or support group may be more useful in getting you to develop a plan and then executing on that plan.

    It would be difficult for something like an App to make recommendations because people have vast differences. An App wouldn’t know that someone has a chronic leg injury which makes some exercises difficult. A friend might see that and factor that into a recommendation. A support group might offer a suggestion, get some feedback that the suggestion wouldn’t work because of some condition or restriction and then offer something else.

    • I disagree. An app can ask you; it can let you enter mitigating circumstances. For example, you tell the app what the maximum you can do is, in steps or in active minutes.

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