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By Michelle Robertson
In a world where more and more people are becoming increasingly health conscious, wearable smart technology that tracks your fitness data has become an essential piece of equipment for many. Recent figures reveal a dramatic uptake of this type of fitness tracking technology since 2013 with a projected growth rate of a further 65% by the year 2020. This reflects a positive shift in society, with more people taking the state of their health seriously.
By monitoring a whole host of factors – your movement, level of activity, heart rate, distance run/cycled, sleep patterns and even behavioural changes – health monitors are without a doubt encouraging people to move much more. A recent study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine looked into how fitness trackers can impact the fitness routines of older women. In order to establish what would be more motivational the first group was asked to use a pedometer and the second, the popular activity tracker Fitbit. The group using the fitness tracker improved their overall exercise time by 38 minutes per week therefore improving their general health, while those using the pedometer did not show a significant increase.
The technology for activity tracking has progressed greatly since the first models were introduced in the 80’s. Those had a heart rate monitor using basic electrocardiogram (EKG) technology and a radio chest strap. In 1996 GPS became open to public use and was adapted spectacularly into the fitness market. Then in 2006 Nokia introduced the technology that exercise people are hooked on today. It tracks all of your movements up, down, side to side and combined with GPS enables accurate readings of calories burned and distance covered during exercise.