Need some motivation to get off the couch and get moving? Try wearing your fitness tracker. It turns out, instead of just monitoring your steps, that device on your phone or watch could help you take more of those steps. Monitoring exercise increases that activity, according to a new study of 16-thousand participants.
Researchers analyzed data from hundreds of previous studies (121 randomized control trials and 141 study comparisons) to find out how exercise monitors, like Fitbits and those found on phone apps, affect physical activity. The study finds that using fitness trackers:
- Increases everyday physical activity by the equivalent of 1,235 steps a day
- And increases moderate and vigorous physical activity by 418.5 minutes a week
Study author Rasmus Tolstrup Larsen, a researcher at the University of Copenhagen’s department of public health, says the effectiveness of fitness trackers has been in question since they hit the market and that this is the largest comprehensive look at that so far. “People who use activity monitors and wearables are more active than people that do not,” he explains. And with so many people trying to change their sedentary ways, fitness monitors could help that goal. “The devices are cheap, simple and innovative,” Larsen says. “Now we can safely say that they are effectively motivating people for more activity in a safe way.”