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Exercise Trackers: Gadgets or Inspiration?

Pedometers. Step tracking watches. Exercise phone apps. There are so many exercise monitoring gadgets out there in Chicago stores! They could make your head spin instead of keeping you active if you let them! Chiropractic Care certainly encourages an active lifestyle as part of the overall Chicago chiropractic treatment plan. Walking is terrific. Swimming is wonderful. Jogging works. Bicycling will keep you rolling. But Chiropractic Care doesn’t want you frustrated keeping track of what you do, so we thought a few research studies may calm us all. And as a bonus, they may even inspire us Chicago folks to keep active, the ultimate goal! 

One set of researchers recognized that often patients with chronic low back pain do well while they are under care, seeing a physician regularly, but decline quickly when they are discharged from care. They propose that using an activity monitoring device like Fitbit will empower and allow patients to self-manage their lower back pain with a special activity program designed just for them using today’s new mobile health technology. (1) So what do you think? Will it work? Chiropractic Care looks forward to the study outcomes and enjoys seeing current Chicago chiropractic  patients using these units to keep active,  to challenge themselves to reach that certain steps-per-day goal.

Are they valid? Do they really track what we are doing reliably? Two such exercise monitoring devices - Fitbit and Jawbone – were evaluated by a group of researchers. (2)  Chiropractic Care sees quite a few of these little devices on our Chicago chiropractic patients’ wrists. (Now, be honest, how many people in your circle of Chicago friends and family got one of these as a gift? They were popular over the holidays!) These researchers found 22 studies to review about these units.  Overall, tracking of the number of steps is highly valid while sleep and energy expenditure measurements are lower. Specifically, the Fitbit overestimated distance at slower speed and underestimated at faster speed. (Chicago chiropractic clients who walk will like this! And that’s all Chiropractic Care often recommends…just walk.) Fitbit to Fitbit comparison showed that it is consistently made to measure the same from unit to unit. One study had participants wear two of them at a time to check this out! Both types of devices tended to underestimate energy expenditure and overestimate total sleep time and sleep efficiency.  (2)

Which is better? Another study compared 10 different trackers and found that Fitbit Zip is the most valid and Nike+ Fuelband was low in reliability and validity. (3) And these types of units encouraged high levels of sustained self-monitoring over a 16 week study. Now, the researchers wonder how to keep this involvement long-term. That could potentially lead to chronic disease prevention! (4) Extra, encouraging texts (SMS) didn’t seem to help much in one study which was designed to help overweight and obese people be more active. (5)

Would Chicago chiropractic patients like them? For post-menopausal women with body mass indices over 25, these trackers with an associated website helped increase their physical activity. These women wore the trackers 95% of the time. 96% of them liked the website, and 100% like the tracker! (6) Those are high percentages! Chiropractic Care would certainly encourage any Chicago chiropractic patient who is ready to be more active to try one out.

So contact Chiropractic Care when back pain is a pain, and try out one of today’s tracking apps and devices to see if it’ll inspire you to be active. It just may boost your Chicago chiropractic clinical outcome!

 
 
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