Fitness tracking monitors promise to lead to all sorts of results: You’ll melt off fat just by monitoring your steps; eat better by tracking your food intake; get better sleep.
But the fitness devices can cost as much as hundreds of dollars, and often aren’t as helpful as users hope they will be. Consumers should consider carefully whether a fitness monitor is worth the purchase, researchers advise in a Harvard Health Publications report.
Cost of the fitness devices typically increases with the number of features available, but those amenities are usually unnecessary, researchers said.
Although some monitors offer measurements you typically get in a doctor’s office, such as blood pressure or heart rate, experts said the most important feature of such a device is monitoring physical activity: steps taken daily or calories burned from a workout.
“People end up falling for a lot of bells and whistles, when it is often the simple feedback that is most helpful,” said Dr. Jennifer M. Sacheck, associate professor at Tuft’s Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy. “Be realistic in terms of budget, time needed to engage, and ease of wear and use.”
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