The Register Citizen (Torrington, CT)

Benefits of fitness trackers

- Dr. Michael Roizen Mike Roizen, M.D. is Chief Wellness Officer and Chair of Wellness Institute at Cleveland Clinic.

Gwyneth Paltrow, Mindy Kaling and Carrie Underwood all swear by their wearable fitness trackers — and so do millions of Americans. In 2022, wearable technology was the number one fitness trend here and around the globe.

But do these hi-tech gadgets live up to their hype? On the pro side, says Johns Hopkins Medicine, studies show that they help lower LDL cholestero­l and blood pressure and influence how much you exercise (urging you onward!). One recent meta-review that looked at 400 published studies found that pedometers, other types of wearable devices and smartphone apps encourage users to spend around 40 more minutes a day walking.

If keeping track of time spent exercising, calories burned, your heart rate and/ or your blood pressure boosts your commitment to improving your health, well, there is nothing bad there.

However, it pays to be aware of the potential downsides of wearable fitness trackers. In 2020, a study found that these devices can increase anxiety about diagnosed health conditions. For folks with atrial fibrillati­on, for example, the researcher­s said that can lead to unnecessar­y visits to the emergency room. And for anyone, heart rate monitors worn on the wrist can be inaccurate since they measure blood flow away from the heart, and light hitting the sensor can reduce accuracy. To get an accurate heart rate, you need to wear a chest strap heart monitor. Calories burned are also often miscalcula­ted — as is walking speed. So let these entertaini­ng technologi­es encourage you to exercise, but for serious medical evaluation­s and concerns, see your doctor.

Health pioneer Michael Roizen, M.D., is chief wellness officer emeritus at the Cleveland Clinic and author of four No. 1 New York Times bestseller­s. His next book is “The Great Age Reboot: Cracking the Longevity Code for a Younger Tomorrow.” Do you have a topic Dr. Mike should cover in a future column? If so, please email questions@ GreatAgeRe­

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