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Why I stopped using fitness trackers


Many years ago, I bought my very first fitness tracker. It was a cheap one from Xiaomi, but it did the job - it checked the pulse and showed steps in the app consistently. It was also very easy to use, with one-week battery life and no screen to accidentally damage.

This tracker ended up helping me and my doctor find and fix a serious problem with my health, and since then, I have used some fitness tracker every day, and even at night. The trackers I've tried throughout those years are the Xiaomi band, Apple Watch (several models, including Ultra), Garmin, Fitbit, and Oura ring.

Each of them I used consistently, tracking data daily and checking if everything was okay. But with time, I noticed one thing: instead of helping me adjust my lifestyle, fitness trackers' data only brings more stress. The worst ones have been those with a "readiness score" because everything below perfection was somehow considered bad (and gave a justification for not trying too hard on such days).

Instead of helping me adjust my lifestyle, fitness trackers' data only brings more stress.

Despite the variety and perceived usefulness of data, in practice none of it could be used in any meaningful way. First, because the accuracy is not guaranteed. Even something as obvious as pulse measurements could not be the only source of data for medical decisions, for example. And for the most difficult cases, there were actual proven ways to figure out the problem without relying on fitness trackers' data that is not complete and could be wrong. Meanwhile, fitness trackers affected not only daily mood but also the lifestyle and budget in a rather significant way: some of them are pretty expensive and with their small batteries need upgrades relatively often, some require a subscription for their software, and most of them require charging every single day (every several days if you're lucky). But perhaps the biggest one was this: instead of learning to understand how I feel, I relied on numbers on the screen. When I realized this is what I was doing, I figured it's time to step aside from fitness trackers and invest this time and energy in the only hardware that would remain with me - myself.

Instead of learning to understand how I feel, I relied on the numbers on the screen.

As for now, I use simple G-Shock watch, which will require next battery replacement probably in about a year, and don't check any fitness apps apart from steps tracker on my phone (which is rather an old habit than an actual benefit to my fitness). The simplicity of this setup brings me peace of mind: sleep tracking is yet again replaced by solid sleeping schedule, and same goes for workouts. There is definitely time and place for fitness trackers, but after using so many of them, I realized they're not fitting well into my lifestyle anymore.