Wearing An Activity Tracker May Promote Physical Activity

Over the shoulder view of young woman using running app on smart watch and smartphone to track pace and time. Doing exercise with wearable technology. Mockup image for young woman using smartphone and smart watch.
Wearable activity trackers seem to be effective for increasing physical activity among individuals of varying age and among clinical and nonclinical populations.

HealthDay News — Wearable activity trackers seem to be effective for increasing physical activity among individuals of varying age and among clinical and nonclinical populations, according to a review published in the August issue of The Lancet Digital Health.

Ty Ferguson, from the University of South Australia in Adelaide, and colleagues conducted a systematic review of systematic reviews and meta-analyses to examine the effectiveness of activity trackers for improving physical activity and related physiological and psychosocial outcomes in clinical and nonclinical populations. A total of 39 systemic reviews and meta-analyses were identified, which included results from 163,992 participants across all age groups from healthy and clinical populations.

The researchers found that the meta-analyses suggested that activity trackers improved physical activity, body composition, and fitness (standardized mean difference, 0.3 to 0.6, 0.7 to 2.0, and 0.3, respectively), equivalent to ~1,800 extra steps per day, 40 minutes more walking per day, and ~1 kg reduction in body weight. The effects for other physiological and psychosocial outcomes were generally small and not significant.

“The overall results from the studies we reviewed [show] that wearable activity trackers are effective across all age groups and for long periods of time,” Ferguson said in a statement. “They encourage people to exercise on a regular basis, to make it part of their routine and to set goals to lose weight.”

Abstract/Full Text