Fitbit:”Digital Health Revolution”

Advancements in today’s society have opened a variety of avenues allowing new technology to integrate itself into many aspects of our lives. Fitbit is just one of those new technologies that was released and immediately began benefiting the fitness world, a “revolution in digital health.” As a society that is constantly on the move, it is rewarding at the end of the day to look at what you have accomplished whether it be a legitimate workout or just the activities that you did through out the day. By being able to look back and see the progress that is being made, it is a constant reminder and motivator to continue to keep yourself active and moving about to achieve that healthier lifestyle. For most, the Fitbit wearable device and phone app serve as solely activity trackers to keep record of a persons daily movements but for some it was used for much more than that. Let’s look at some of the different ways that activity trackers have ben adopted and integrated into the everyday life.

The Fitbit tracker can be used as a method to track distance, steps, calories, but it can also be used to track your heart rate. For Kaylea Haynes, she often found herself going through periods of “working out” but mostly spending her free time on the couch, not getting even close to the right amount of exercise that she needed. Instead of tracking calories burned during the day she tracked her heart rate. “Heart rate is a good indicator of how hard you are exercising, and to monitor this I used the Fitbit. There are different heart-rate zones that you can train in, and these are usually defined as “peak”, “cardio” and “fat burn”. Each of these different zones enhance difference aspects of your fitness.” (Haynes)

 

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With such detailed information she was able to pin point the areas that needed improvement and had a visual of what to set her goals to. As a new runner watching her heart rate either increase, decrease, or ideally remaining in the anaerobic energy zone was motivation to continue. The use of the Fitbit in her daily life has proved successful as a motivational factor to continue to exercise and reach set goals.

The Fitbit tracker is not only used for people working to achieve a more physically active lifestyle, but it is also used to assist those with health problems, in this case after undergoing the Fontan operation for complex congenital heart disease. In this case it was shown that hospital based cardiac physical activity programs actually improved a persons Health Related Quality of Life (HRQOL). This is where the Fitbit became important, what if they could do this same physical activity more often and in the comfort of their own home?

The study was conducted on children eight to twelve years old over the course of 12 week of moderate to high physical intensity at home. The children who used the Fitbit Monitor were reported to have major improvement in their overall HRQOL, specifically “physical function, school function, psychosocial function, as well as an increase in oxygen function.” (Jacobsen et al) They were able to do these exercises everyday without having to travel to see a doctor and have them assist in their workouts.

 

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The Fitbit gave the children’s parents comfort that they could monitor how much physical exertion was being expended and that they could track that it was being done and maintained at a safe level at home. Furthermore, the children were not restricted to when and where they could do this physical activity. Since it made such an impact in so many aspects of their lives, it benefited them that they had the flexibility to do it daily and when it was most convenient.

The last major area that Fitbit technology has been implemented is with in the school system. As we can see among children in todays society, they are often quite sedentary, as much of the technology that they use for entertainment purposes does not require much movement if any at all. It is extremely important for children to get enough movement and physical activity to prevent chronic diseases from arising later in life. “Public health recommendations suggest that children engage in a minimum sixty minute per day of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity, which typically includes walking, jogging, or playing sports.”(Hayes & Camp) In schools it is a requirement that children take part in physical education classes and recess, but in most cases this does not come close to meeting the suggested intense sixty minute exercise.

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Based on the data that was recorded, it suggested that the Fitbit intervention was in fact a success. There was a noticeable increase in the number of steps that the children took during the twenty minute sessions. With that increase in steps came a significant increase in the levels of activity and energy that was being exerted. The Fitbit was beneficial because it motivated the children to continue to move around and work to increase the amount of steps that they took each time.

The creation of the Fitbit technology was to track a persons daily activity, and was one of the first of its kind to be created. With no true guarantee that it would prove to be a successful piece of technology, its release was a gamble whether people would buy it and find use for it. Based on these studies and many others, the integration that has occurred with this piece of technology is incredible. Its versatility is impressive, having the ability to prove useful for some one at any stage in their life. Not only has it proved unhindered by age, but it also can be implemented in almost any situation. It can be strictly used for its original intent to track physical activity, but can also be used in that same realm as a motivator to keep people who might often lose moment continuously  engaged and constantly striving to improve themselves. Interestingly enough it can also find its spot with in the health care system, helping those with different conditions confidently and safely work to better their physical and mental well being, without being under the supervision of a medical professionals. Finally the technology has been implemented with in the school system as a way to facilitate a more active younger generation, and as a way to prevent future health problems that have the potential to arise with a lack of physical activity.

The range of areas that the Fitbit technology has been implemented and making a significant difference in, shows how beneficial the technology has proven to be for society. While not all of society has jumped on board with this new technology it is safe to say that it has been widely accepted and utilized and those who have adopted it and integrated it into their daily lives have seen positive improvements in regards to their health conditions as well as their mental and physical states of being.

 

 

Sources:
Hayes, L., & Camp, C. (2015). Increasing physical activity of children during school recess. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 48(3), 690.
Haynes, K. (December 2015). The fitbit generation:From couch potato to marathon runner. Significance, 12(6), 24.
Honigsbaum, M. (2015, Fitbit is the start of a revolution in digital health, but is it good for us? The Gaurdian.
Jacobsen, R. (2016). Can a home-based cardiac physical activity program improve the physical function quality of LIfe in children with fontan circulation. Congenital Heart Disease, 11(2), 175.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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