Fitness trackers are all the rage in today’s health-focused society. They basically run your life from tracking how much your walk to how many calories you’re burning. There’s no denying the fact that it’s quite the invention when used correctly.
Today, we’re seeing a trend of people increasingly becoming overweight and following a largely sedentary lifestyle. These fitness trackers can help you become more aware of how much you move or exercise and let you see how your health is improving over time. More importantly, it can motivate you to make a positive change. Fitness trackers can be particularly helpful in bringing about self-awareness and enabling you to have real-time feedback about your health and fitness at your fingertips.1
However, for those of you who are all too aware of how many calories you’re consuming or sweating out, the fitness tracker can be more of a bane than a boon. For a more clearer perspective, you need to know why tracking your fitness can be bad for your health too.
1. Fuels Harmful Behavior
It can be a problem for you if you have any significant eating disorder such as anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, binge eating disorder, or any other unhealthy eating which the fitness tracker doesn’t account for. Tracking your health and fitness fuels the defining characteristics of an eating disorder – perfectionism and the need for control.
When you have an eating disorder, you’ll never really have an end goal in sight. You’ll start obsessing over things like the quality of food and the size of portions to eat. You may even start punishing yourself for any slip-ups.
2. Makes You Second Guess Your Health
When you constantly use a fitness tracker, you could start second guessing your health and fitness to such an extent that some problems might seem more worse than they actually are.
For instance, if you’ve not had a proper night’s rest but have no way to realize it, you’ll just go about your day in the usual manner. However, if you’ve been made aware of the fact that you’ve slept badly by a fitness tracker, you could find yourself fixating on your lack of sleep. Once the negative placebo effect kicks in, you’ll start feeling even more groggy and tired.
This can happen with your heart rate as well. Once you realize that your heart rate is higher than normal, you could start wondering what’s wrong with you. Ironically, you’ll end up increasing your heart rate further by stressing out.
3. Gets You Addicted To The Tracker
There’s a reason why fitness tracking is a rage. With all the real-time data related to your fitness, health, and performance at your fingertips, there’s no reason why you’d feel like letting it go. You could even start getting quite anal about continuing to collect the data for months.
This can set you up for a distressful fall if you ever miss data collection when the charge runs out or if you’ve forgotten to wear it. If you’ve got an addictive personality, your addiction to fitness tracking can only get worse.
4. Makes You Rely On Your Tracker
Imagine that your tracker stops working one day. Does it seem like a scary prospect? If yes, then you may be over-reliant on your wearable device. Your tracker may even be malfunctioning and could provide you with incorrect data.
This way, you’ll be misguided about your fitness and health. To put things right, you could start taking up more physical activities, practicing meditation, or even sleeping more. This whole situation can get very stressful after a point in time and lead to adverse health effects. Just remember that your fitness tracker can’t be perfectly accurate always and that you should never be over-reliant on it to track your health.
5. You Become Detached From Reality
Whether you’re in the gym for a workout or you’re outside for a long run, your fitness tracker can provide you with a lot of data and feedback related to your performance and fitness levels. When used properly, your tracker can actually teach you more about your overall health and the way your body functions.
On the flip side, constant tracking can also make you feel detached from the real world or what your body is actually telling you. While your tracker thinks it’s okay for you to continue working out, your body may not be so prepared to restart. The other issue is that you lose focus when you’re working out if you’re constantly staring at your wrist wanting more data. In short, your entire workout session may end up being less effective.
6. Makes You Paranoid About Your Health
What if your tracker has been telling you that you haven’t been sleeping well enough for most of the week? You may start panicking about the fact that you aren’t sleeping enough, which in turn can lead to more negative health consequences.
If you’re constantly aware of your lack of exercise, sleep, movement, or even your elevated heart rate, you may begin to feel stressed and anxious at all times. This can only cause more harm than good. If you’re an advocate of the positive benefits of being mindful about yourself, constantly tracking your health is seen as a way of working against this mental state.
|↑1||Fitness trackers accurately measure heart rate but not calories burned. Stanford Medicine News Center, 2017|