Activity Trackers

Exercise .

Research Paper:

Effectiveness of wearable activity trackers to increase physical activity and improve health: a systematic review of systematic reviews and meta-analyses

Article Breakdown

This study examined the effectiveness of activity trackers for improving physical activity and other health measures. The shines a positive light on the use of activity trackers and their ability to inspire physical activity and positive health outcomes across some physiological measures. The review noted a meaningful benefit of activity trackers and noted areas for further research on this topic to establish additional insights in relation to other health measures (physiological and psychosocial).

Main Findings

  • The meta-analyses suggested activity trackers improved physical activity, body composition (, and fitness, equating to approximately 1800 extra steps per day, 40 min per day more walking, and reductions of approximately 1 kg in bodyweight.
  • Effects for other physiological (blood pressure, cholesterol, and glycosylated haemoglobin) and psychosocial (quality of life and pain) outcomes were typically small and often non-significant.

Limitations 

  • Although the sample chosen was comprehensive and incorporated elements related to the title, the authors acknowledge the exclusion of systematic reviews related to activity tracker-based interventions in populations with mental illness.

Main Takeaway Message

Activity trackers appear to be effective at increasing physical activity in a variety of age groups and clinical and non-clinical populations. 

Study Reference and Access

Ferguson T, Olds T, Curtis R, Blake H, Crozier AJ, Dankiw K, Dumuid D, Kasai D, O’Connor E, Virgara R, Maher C. Effectiveness of wearable activity trackers to increase physical activity and improve health: a systematic review of systematic reviews and meta-analyses. Lancet Digit Health. 2022 Aug;4(8):e615-e626. doi: 10.1016/S2589-7500(22)00111-X. PMID: 35868813.

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