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Activity Tracker: The New Fitness

The health and fitness industry is ever-changing as new methods emerge and new technology becomes available.

A new trend in today’s health and fitness world is wearable technology in the form of smart watches and wristbands. Now people have a way of tracking their exercise and daily activity with a convenient gadget that easily attaches to the wrist.

This article provides insight into the new trend of an activity tracker and how people are using the technology to better their health.


Wearable fitness trackers have evolved through time, starting with pedometers. Pedometers can clip on to your clothing and measure how many steps you took while wearing the device. The smart watches and wristbands of today are much more advanced than the pedometer and offer greater detail of their activity to its user.

Activity Tracker

Activity trackers most commonly are purchased as smart watches and wristbands that can measure your heart rate, respiratory rate, number of steps taken and much more. From measuring your heart rate in addition to personal information you choose to give your smart device, the device can determine calories burned during a certain exercise. These wristbands also can determine how long you were exercising and when your peak was during the exercise.

While research on this advanced technology is limited, a few studies have suggested positive and negative outcomes from these activity trackers.

Negative Outcomes

Privacy is the most important factor to consumers and producers when buying or selling a product. Research has shown that many people are skeptical of purchasing smart watches and other activity trackers for fear their privacy will be diminished.

Another con to activity trackers is their tendency to distract users. Some research has suggested that the devices could distract users from driving or completing other daily tasks.

Positive Outcomes

While some negative outcomes worry the users of activity trackers, other research gives consumers a hopeful mindset. Activity trackers such as the smart watch has shown to motivate its users by giving them something tangible to rely on while exercising.

Many of the activity trackers will give reminders and notifications to their user throughout the day to remind them to move and give them an insight as to where they are in their goal setting for that time of day.

Activity trackers can give the users their results and statistics in real time during the day. Most activity trackers can measure heart rate, respiration rate, sedentary time and active time. Users can look at their progress instantly at any time of the day or during any point of a workout.

The Takeaway

Activity trackers offer negative and positive outcomes and have been proven to improve a person’s daily activity drastically. They offer many resources to their user throughout each day and give their users a sense of accomplishment.


Nelsona, E.C., Noordzijc, M.L., and Verhagen, T. (April 12, 2016). Health empowerment through activity trackers: An empirical smart wristband study. Retrieved from

Kaewkannate, K., and Kim, S. (May 24, 2016). A comparison of wearable fitness devices. Retrieved from


By Katie Rarick, NDSU Extension Dietetic Intern
Reviewed by Julie Garden-Robinson, NDSU Extension Food and Nutrition Specialist

Sponsored in part by the Sanford Health Foundation.

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