Wearable tech, a domain of technology that has taken the world by a storm lately. Be it marathon runners, casual gym -goers, or people like me, everyone is relying on this newest trend of fitness trackers to keep a record of their workout. Internet is flooded with the likes of #10kstepschallenge, #30dayfitnesschallenge etc. With the entire cult built around fitness, you would spot a tracker, smart watch on every other wrist more than often these days. While I recently covered why every tech company wants to jump into this business, this one’s focused on the consumer side of it. Let us understand why is a fitness tracker becoming a must have piece of technology for everyone.
1. Instant Gratification:
Instant gratification is the desire to experience the pleasure of outcome of an activity almost instantly. Now, we all know Rome was not built in a day. Likewise, getting rid of those extra pounds takes some time (a lot actually). While most of us rage quit before experiencing the results, our fitness trackers tend to keep us engaged. With daily goals, reminders, badges– there is a full blown gamification model around it.
There are multiple apps like step set go which integrate with the tracker of any brand and allow you to compete with your friends. Similarly, Google’s Fit would constantly nudge you to revise your goals upward/downward basis your daily activity. So, there’s something in store each time you move dem body. Another #tech4good example may be?
And then there’s FOMO. The good old friend you made with the inception of social media. When everyone’s posting images of their cycling route for the day, miles ran, I think you are bound to lose faith in humanity if you don’t have one on your wrist. Sad, but true.
If you have been reading my posts regularly, you may have realized that I am not here to preach. I am guilty of this behavior too. I still don’t own a fitness tracker or a smart watch yet. However, I have postponed my daily exercise regime indefinitely, until I have one. In a nutshell, I am using FOMO to my advantage (or disadvantage may be?). And if you bother to ask, I am waiting for OnePlus smart watch which was supposed to come out last year. WTF Carl and Pete? This baby is gaining weight because of you guys.
3. The 10K Steps Fad:
This challenge is currently doing rounds for a while now. Every other person you meet tends to aim for 10k steps a day. Ever wondered why only 10k? Well, it turns out that 10,000 steps provide a proper balance of caloric intake and activity-based calorie expenditure to maintain a healthy body. Modern fitness trackers to this day still use 10,000 steps as a benchmark goal; however, a recent study published in the International Journal of Obesity suggests that 15,000 steps may actually be a more beneficial target to aim for.
And because we want to be a part of that 10k club, our phones are just not enough to track our fitness. We want to track every single step we take in the day to hit that goal. I remember that I took one such challenge a couple of years ago with my office mates. I became so obsessed with it that I used to carry my phone while brushing my teeth and walking. At that point I almost decided to buy a tracker to save me from this problem. However, lack of a good alternative stopped me in the tracks.
I am totally not against this trend. However, a noteworthy point would be to make sure that you are not relying on such challenges alone to exercise. The journey should go on with or without fitness trackers or such challenges.
4. Price Point
With the Chinese inquisition of wearables industry, simply typing in ‘fitness tracker’ on Amazon would give you results starting from Rs. 299. Owning a piece of tech at that price is absolutely not seen before. Therefore, more affordability, more adoption and hence more FOMO if you don’t own one yourself.
Apart from that, there is some amazing art involved in copying the giants here. Oppo Smartwatch and Apple Watch have a barely noticeable differences. These days, they have come up with a glorified term for being a copy cat- Inspired with the design. With aesthetics of Apple and OS of Google, Oppo Watch has the best of both worlds at less than half the price. So if someone’s probably waiting for a Black Friday Deal on wearable tech (especially health trackers), today it is.
5. Exposure to TMI
TMI or too much information is always perceived bad when you are at the listening end. However, in this case we love to track our vitals like blood pressure, SPO2 levels, Oxygen monitor and in some watches, stress level too.
For becoming a doctor, you first opt for medical in your 11th standard onwards. Later, there is a 5 year MBBS. Then a specialization. After that there are tons of fields you can go into. In a nutshell, becoming a successful doctor takes almost 10 years of time. But, all thanks to Google, we all are certified quacks these days. For some reason, it makes us feel informed or empowered in some sense. And that trait is well exploited by these fitness trackers. By looking at the data we may not even understand completely, we feel in control.
My grandmother recently asked me to buy a tracker for her because she wanted to keep a track of her blood pressure and heart beat. I am not sure if that would put her in the driving seat of her health parameters or further create a panic situation. Therefore, using the age old logic “When in doubt, Stay Out” I have decided to stall that purchase for now.
I think the way smartphone penetration has reached to the grassroot levels in India, fitness trackers would see a similar trend with time. I can totally imagine my domestic help discussing the average calories burnt while doing the dishes with my wife, some day. What a time to be alive, indeed. Fitness trackers are a win win for the manufacturers and consumers both and totally fit into my bucket of using technology for good.
Do you own a fitness tracker or a smart watch? Is there any other reason apart from the ones mentioned above that drove your purchase decision?
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Until next time..