Fitness Trackers as Weight Loss Tools

Fitness Trackers for Weight LossOver the last little while, fitness trackers in many forms have become extremely popular.  This technology is no longer just worn by early adopters.  Instead, it’s available and readily used by anyone who wants to be able to better understand their activity levels and other healthy lifestyle factors every day.

Can Fitness Trackers Support Weight Loss?

These little devices come in many different shapes and forms.  Most are wrist-worn, but there are also pendants, belt/waistband clips, and others that will also record movements and other factors, providing on-device feedback, but more often sending the info to an app.

New research is showing that people of all ages can benefit from features on fitness trackers.  One recent study showed that the step counter and accelerometer are the most helpful features in these devices for supporting weight loss when combined with regular exercise and calorie-controlled diet.  Another study has shown that they could be a very powerful tool for helping older people to be able to lose weight more effectively.

Weight Loss Support at Any Age

That latter study was conducted by Wake Forest University researchers. The participants were 48 individuals between the ages of 65 and 79 years and who were all obese. The study ran for a period of 10 months, which included 5 months in which there was an effort made to lose weight, and another 5 months which was a follow up period.

The participants in the study were randomly assigned to one of two different groups. The first group was provided with information about aerobic exercise and dieting. The second group was provided with this same information, but they were also given fitness trackers and some instructions regarding the way in which they should be used.

What the researchers found was that by the end of the study, the people who used the fitness trackers reduced their weight by about 10 percent from where it had been at the beginning of the research. On the other hand, the people who did not have the trackers reduced their weight by an average of only 5 percent of their starting level. This research was published in the Obesity journal’s online edition.

The authors concluded that this research offers evidence that providing people with a fitness tracker and the proper instructions for using it, as well as the right instruction for a proper diet and workout routine, could help those individuals to be able to lose weight and then keep it off once it’s gone.

Key Points

The study indicated that weight loss and weight loss maintenance can both benefit from a level of self-regulatory intervention such as what was provided through the tracker device. It should be noted that the individuals who had received the trackers did receive added attention in order to assist them in being able to alter their behaviors so that they could meet their goals. What was truly notable, however, was the tendency for spontaneous physical activity that was outside of the regular exercise program but that was often seen among those who had the fitness trackers.

Which Fitness Trackers Help the Most with Weight Loss?

The great news is that since pedometers and accelerometers are the features that are most helpful on fitness trackers to people trying to lose weight, you don’t have to spend a fortune to get a useful device. The key is to find a gadget you know you’ll wear regularly, that collects reliable data, and that features an app you’ll use.

The following are some of the most popular brands.  Within each one, there are often several models available.  Check out the features among these fitness trackers to be sure you’ll be able to use them as you want.  For instance, some have features like heart rate monitors or are waterproof. These will be important if you want to gauge the intensity of your workout or wear the device in the rain or while swimming. Some also monitor sleep, which can be useful in gaining a better overall idea of your healthy lifestyle beyond how many steps you’re taking each day.

  • Fitbit – Likely the most well-known brand with a range of adult and child devices with various features, accessories and price points, and a user-friendly app with a spectrum of tracking features.
  • Garmin – One of Fitbit’s top competitors. These devices also offer a spectrum of options, prices and a popular app that contains all your data.
  • AmazFit – This is among the fitness trackers in the lower price range but that doesn’t sacrifice features. It also has Alexa built-in, which is appealing to those who already have many Amazon products in their homes.
  • Apple Watch – If you have an iPhone and want a smartwatch with fitness tracker features, then this might be the option for you. It’s more expensive than other typical tracking devices, but it also offers more overall features beyond just keeping up with your workouts.