Can My Fitness Device Do More Harm Than Good?

Sleek fitness bands are showing up on our wrists; they count our steps and motivate us to be more active. But can they be used incorrectly? We discuss the downside of the fitness device trend.

The fitness products that once counted our steps through the day are evolving. Today, these devices can monitor our heart rate, evaluate our sleep patterns, count the calories we consume, compete with our friends to log steps, and alert us when we’ve received a phone call. Enthusiasts swear by the value of these new high-tech tools, but can good technology have a down side?

A fitness band can be very helpful in tracking and evaluating a fitness program. A device like the Fitbit can help us to be more accountable, guide us to the level of intensity that’s most appropriate for our goals, help us keep track of calories, and provide information for our doctor to evaluate the activity in our lifestyle.

However, like any fitness tool, it is possible to overdo a good idea. A number of wearables let you compare your steps to your friends’ steps. This competition can be motivating, but you can also take it too far. You want to push yourself within limits, but don’t push too hard to stay way out in front of the rest of your friends, just to win a device challenge.

In fact, it’s okay to take a day off, and it’s good for your body to rest. Exercise can put healthy stress on your body, but you don’t want to pound your body so much that it never has a chance to recover. The concept of “resting” in exercise is about lowering the intensity of what you do. If you are weight training, don’t work the same body part on back-to-back days. If you are doing cardio, don’t push yourself at a high level of intensity day after day without a break.

Healthy exercise is supposed to be enjoyable. If you find yourself getting a little too competitive about comparing the numbers on your fitness tracker with those of your friends, maybe it’s time to unplug and reconnect with the pace that is most comfortable for you.

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