Over the last couple of years, fitness trackers have become a must-have gadget for everyone. The tracker motivates people to live a healthier lifestyle, and like every other electronic gadget that comes out on the market, we often hear people ask “Are fitness trackers safe?”
While the primary purpose of a fitness tracker is to track your fitness and set goals to reach, there are often some common concerns that arise. The top one is how safe it is considering it comes with a battery and Bluetooth which is always turned on.
Our aim for this article is to find whether the claims are true or not. However, it is important to note that there isn’t enough scientific data to conclusively state whether or not the fitness tracker is safe for you.
Are Fitness Trackers Safe?
There are some common concerns about fitness trackers; some are physical in nature while others are psychological. We decided to list some of them and talk about them briefly to know whether or not they are true.
1. Cancer Concerns
There are some claims out there that these trackers can cause cancer, which is common for almost every electronic device these days. Let us state right away that the possibility of getting cancer by wearing fitness trackers is very unlikely.
To begin with, the reason why people even had cancer concerns was that it was believed that fitness trackers emit radiation just like a mobile phone. While this is true, the cancer claim was struck down as these trackers are not remotely as powerful as a mobile phone.
Additionally, mobile phones are held constantly against our heads, which in turn means that it is near the brain for long periods of time. Although back in 2011 the WHO did state that mobile phones could be carcinogenic, researchers did point out that the increase in the number of mobile phones together with the increase in brain cancers is not necessarily a shred of evidence for the link.
So, while there isn’t any conclusive data on the matter, we can say for now that wearing fitness trackers which emits far lesser radiation has a meager chance of causing you cancer. That being said, if you are still not convinced about it, there are some ways you can further lower or limit the risk of radiation including:
- Choose to wear a fitness tracker that needs to be plugged into a computer or manually synced to a smartphone to sync the data, rather than choosing one that is continuously transmitting the information. You can make it a habit of syncing it to your device only once a day, specifically at the end of the day.
- Avoid wearing clip-on style trackers around the midsection. That, in particular, includes near your reproductive organs or your breasts. These trackers need to follow a specific absorption rate (SAR) limit by the law, and this refers to a measure of the rate at which the energy from the tracker gets absorbed by the body when it is exposed to the radiofrequency electromagnetic field. Unfortunately, these limits do not take into account the possibility of the breasts and the reproductive organs that could be damaged at a lower SAR limit.
- Make use of your tracker for no more than a week since generally, a week is sufficient enough to give you a good idea of your activity pattern. Once you have a better understanding of it, take the tracker off and make adjustments to your lifestyle. After a while, wear the tracker again so that you get revised benchmarks.
2. Workout Obsession
There is a hidden danger when it comes to fitness trackers which need to be taken into account. Simply put, they are safe to use as long as they are used the way they are supposed to. Some people have had an unhealthy obsession of counting their calories, the steps taken, and the overall activity for the day.
For those people, the focus on losing extra weight and being fit started to become unhealthy to the point where they developed eating disorders and/or an addiction to work out continuously. This could translate to the fitness trackers making it easier to track the level of activity and calories lost.
Those who are new to this and are taking the first step to being fit, such a practice potentially becomes a hidden danger. While a fitness tracker is meant more to motivate you, it also can push you to the point where you are obsessed with even the number of steps you take in a single day. Taking this obsession too far can become a massive problem.
This is a dark side of the fitness tracker. It is up to you to be strong enough to use this tracker as a tool to motivate you rather than a tool to leave you feeling worse about yourself and pushing you towards unrealistic goals.
3. App and Tracker Reliance
Another issue of a fitness tracker is that people tend to rely too much on the outside factors to determine their health. A tracker forces the user to look at themselves from the outside instead of the inside.
What we mean by that is we enter our weight, height, and level of activity into an app to create a particular health goal. What these apps fail to consider is other information such as your natural built and/or medical conditions. What this leads to are unrealistic goals that could potentially be dangerous.
This forces people to look at themselves physically instead of listening to their own body from the inside and following the natural cues. While it is important to take care of yourself, it is best to understand what your own body needs. The good thing to do is always to seek a professional opinion on what your fitness goals should be.
Are fitness trackers safe or not? Well, to a certain extent they are. Physically, they cannot cause much harm to your body. Psychologically though, these trackers can get dangerous if you let them take over your life.
It’s important to remember that closely monitoring the results on the tracker and obsessing over them is extremely unhealthy. Likewise, it isn’t safe to follow goals made by an app as they don’t understand you as a person. Hence, use a tracker only to live a healthier lifestyle.