Why I Don’t Have a Fitness Tracker. Seems like a fair question to be asked as a person who is highly interested in nutrition, fitness and overall wellness.

This is something that I’ve wanted to write about for a while but if I’m being honest I was a little hesitant. The reason? Fitness trackers are the in thing right now. And while I don’t mind speaking up and offering my opinion, I don’t want to discourage those who have found their fitness tracker a helpful tool to keep them on track. So if you happen to own a fitness tracker and love it for all the good it adds to your life, then please give me a virtual high five for a job well done!

But, maybe your struggling with your fitness tracker and aren’t sure what to make of all the data you are collecting. Or perhaps you’re on the fence about whether or not you are going to add a fancy piece of technology to your daily routine, stick with me for a few minutes and hear me out.

The Upside

Let’s be clear about one thing. I do love the idea of people using technology to be more active instead of sitting on the couch! Roll back to the days of wii fit. As a mama with boys who were just beginning to explore the world of video games, I was all over this. Now with fitness trackers, we’ve just upped the game for adults.

I also see the upside of having your heart rate monitored and your sleep cycle information collected. This is potentially very useful information to share with your health care team, especially if you have any concerns.

The Downside

I do however happen to think that there is a downside that we don’t talk very much about.  

  1. My sense of accomplishment & self-worth is tied up in how many steps I’ve taken…or not taken. The fitness tracker can’t account for the fact that you took very few steps because you were cradling a sick child or really just needed a day to lounge. If you are okay to see a low number reading and move on, then that’s cool. If you are highly driven by reaching your goals and see missing that magical number as an assessment of your self-worth, then that is a whole other ball game.  
  2. Just like counting calories when consuming food, counting calories burned can get murky in terms of calculations. What we eat or do for activity should be less about math and more about quality and enjoyment.
  3. It is easy to let a little piece of technology run your life. You can join groups that are meant to keep everyone moving and having fun. The idea is to have inspiring challenges and an accountability structure in place. When done well, this can be amazing. When it gets out of hand, it turns into competition and can become a little obsessive. Instead of being proud of your own activity level, you check in and end up feeling like you don’t measure up.
  4. You go from work in front of a computer, to checking in on your phone to your wrist strapped device. How much time do we really need to spend letting technology dictate our time?
  5. I don’t love the idea of wearing technology 24/7. In our house, smart phones & tablets stay out of our bedrooms while sleeping. Sleep can be interrupted by notifications sounds, blinking lights as well as the temptation to pick up the device in the middle of the night. The other issue for me is that we simply just don’t know the long term effects of living in a wireless world. While we are waiting it out to see the results of current research, there is enough past research to cause me to pause and take simple steps to reduce the amount of interaction we have as a family with technology. If you want to know more, click here to read an article from the Environmental Working Group.

So while I won’t deny that I am intrigued by the technology and have considered purchasing a fitness tracker of my own, for right now I am good without one.

I would love to hear from you though. Do you have a fitness tracker? Do you love it, or is it sitting in a drawer somewhere? Leave your comments below.