Diminishing Returns of Fitness Gadgets
A great article by Ars Technica titled The trouble with fitness gadgets highlights some valid points of the diminishing returns of fitness trackers.
The gist of it is you get the rewards of being able to track your activity data:
Fitness bands are an easy way to track the effort put forth into the "rewards" of fitness. They draw the line between effort exerted and results achieved more thickly and darkly than does, say, logging steps from a pedometer or writing down a fitness routine in a journal. Plus, apps and automation of the data collected by fitness trackers can be cross-referenced and rearranged in any number of graphs and charts. The novelty of the information itself becomes a reward alongside the actual reward of results.
But soon enough, the reward will wear off, and you are left holding to a $100 networked silicon bracelet:
Extrinsic rewards can provide ongoing motivation, as other research shows. But for the reward effect to continue motivating people, it has to keep coming and get better every day. The rewards, both long- and short-term, need to be at least comparable to the short-term reward of that delicious-looking donut over there. But the problem is that extrinsic rewards can undermine intrinsic ones, and it’s literally impossible to keep the extrinsic rewards of fitness up indefinitely.
My two cents: Since I don't have a fitness tracker, I know little about whether it is effective in giving me motivation. However I've been using the iPhone 5S' M7 chip with the Nike+ Move app and it enables me to log my daily movements, and I do feel a sense of gratification that my daily movements translated to high numbers. However, it doesn't really make me more motivated to walk or to be more active; in fact it only motivates me to bring my 5S more often with me so it can track all my movements and let me achieve 'green' status quickly.
Your thoughts? Do you have faith in your fitness trackers?