Article Review: Fitness Watches…Are They Actually Useful?

The University of Copenhagen, Denmark, published a study last year about their findings on the use of fitness watches. You can find the article here.

While the idea of wearing some type of fitness watch has appealed to a variety of consumers, a new study shows there might be greater adverse effects than previously considered.

The research, led by assistant professor Tariq Osman Andersen, found that fitness watch users experienced more stress and anxiety than those who do not wear it. The irony being evident that using a fitness watch to improve your health may actually be detrimental to ones health.

Some of the discussions brought up in the article centered around consumers having a lack of proper understanding of the biometrics measured. They hypothesized that if the consumers had better access to discuss the data with a health care practitioner, then they would be able to better utilize all of the biometrics recorded.

I find this quite interesting and also synonymous with my own fitness watches. Currently, I am using an Apple Watch and a Whoop! band to track my fitness and sleep. However, I find myself getting stressed out on nights I don’t sleep well, which further contributes to poor sleep. Similarly, if I string together a few days of lackluster exercise, I start to feel guilty, triggering yet another negative response to my overall health.

As is typical in these circumstances, take this with a grain of salt. Sure, there may be some adverse effects from using various fitness watches. However, I still think there are substantially more pros than cons. Many studies have shown that wearing a fitness watch promotes physical activity, which leads to increased exercise. Finding ways to help people increase their weekly exercise volume is one of the most fundamental components to preventing all-cause mortality, so fitness watches (and similar devices) still bring a positive lifestyle change to most people.

Stay tuned for more article reviews. If anyone has any special requests for particular areas of research, add a message in the comments or write an email to me!