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The pros and cons of electronic devices for personal activity tracking...

As Christmas nears, you may be considering purchasing one of the above for a friend or family member who is already planning their New Year resolutions; you may even have put it on your own wish list.

It certainly ticks a lot of Xmas stocking boxes; it’s on trend, it’s healthier than a bottle of whisky or box of chocolates, it’s a conversation piece, and it may be just what’s needed to get fitter and shed a few pounds.

So, are there any cautionary notes to the marketing success of these devices? Well, no (in an on the fence kind of way). They are great for anyone who loves to set themselves goals or indeed, the OCD-types amongst us. They are comfortable to wear, and ideal for gadget geeks. However, others have argued that exercise should be about relaxation and stress reduction as opposed to constantly checking our daily ‘progress’.  And, if your exercise involves fewer arm movements, you may not have a true record of how much exercise you have actually done.  One study even found that those people who manually recorded their exercise, actually lost more weight and were more active, than the ‘techno’ exercisers, the argument being that we are more accountable to ourselves if we manually make a note.

Whatever your goals for the New Year, and however, you intend to achieve them, enjoy the ride, whether it’s with an electronic device, a group of friends, or a simple little pencil.