Wearing a fitness tracker influences people to walk an extra 40 minutes every day, a new study suggests.
Researchers at the University of South Australia reviewed almost 400 studies involving 164,000 people, finding that wearable activity trackers could help prevent health conditions caused by lack of exercise.
They identified a positive link between wearing trackers and activity levels across all age groups and for long periods of time.
The study, published in the Lancet Digital Health journal, found that wearing such a device motivates people to exercise more, and subsequently aids in weight loss.
People who wear trackers are likely to walk an extra 40 minutes every day, the equivalent of 1,800 more steps, and lose an average of 1kg over five months.
While 1kg weight loss may not seem like a lot, experts say it holds significance.
Professor Carol Maher, a co-author of the study, commented: “Bearing in mind these were not weight loss studies, but lifestyle physical activity studies, so we wouldn’t expect dramatic weight loss.
“The average person gains about 0.5 kg a year in weight creep so losing 1kg over five months is significant.”
As per the NHS, adults aged between 19 and 64 should aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise per week.
Fitness trackers are popular among the general population – the number of trackers shipped worldwide increased by around 1,500 per cent between 214 and 2020.
But there is skepticism around the devices’ effectiveness and whether they contribute to unhealthy obsessive behaviours.
Researchers said the findings suggest that through motivating people to move more, trackers could help lower blood pressure and cholesterol in people with type 2 diabetes.