Whether courageously walking in the park or soccer mothers cheering on their children on the edge of the field and marching on the spot: digital step counting is trendy in the and the fitness bracelet is an indispensable part of everyday life for many.
A statement like “I did 12,000 yesterday” earns an appreciative nod without further inquiry. If you like it more discreet, you can use the smartwatch, on the face of which a pedometer is hidden where the date display used to be. And in Germany too, many people trust the digital fitness helpers on their wrists.
But the general enthusiasm for the new gadgets, of which more than 13 million were sold in the US alone in 2015, is mixed with initial frustration. Because fitness gain and weight loss do not always seem to occur as hoped. One user reports: “I noticed that my bracelet also counts steps when I brush my teeth.”
How reliable and helpful is the data that is collected? Don’t they at least encourage more exercise? After all, a study at the beginning of the year showed that after six weeks, users of fitness bracelets walk an average of 970 more steps per day than before without a bracelet. But apparently the motivation boost does not apply to every target group.
According to a study that has now been published in the journal “Jama”, you don’t necessarily have to lose weight with the bracelets. For the study, almost 500 overweight people made a long-term diet and were given sports recommendations. After 6 months, half of them still received fitness bracelets, which were supposed to provide additional stimulation for movement.
As a result, however, the bracelet group lost 3.5 kilograms less than the comparison group. “Among young adults with a body mass index between 25 and 40, adding a portable technical aid resulted in less weight loss compared to a standard intervention over 24 months,” the researchers from the University of Pittsburgh sum up.