Exercising after the holidays: How accurate are weight tracking apps?

Gaining a little weight can be an unwanted side effect of all the tasty treats this holiday season if you’re planning on using fitness trackers to monitor your health.


With food and drink usually aplenty during the holidays, all the treats can take a toll on our waistlines.

According to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, the average person gains roughly 1 pound during this season.

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Since it’s also the season of gifting, many people could unwrap these fitness devices to revamp their workouts heading into the new year.

But while health trackers can help us gage our activity levels, sleep patterns and more, Samantha Kleinberg of the Steven Institute of Technology says all the data can be overwhelming.

“Now, when you see an advertisement for a new device, if it’s a Smart Watch or something to track your sleep or a ring, you know, all these different form factors, you’re thinking, ‘Oh, that’s cool. I can learn more.’” Right? And then, there’s this tenuous connection of like, ‘Somehow, if I learn more, I’ll be able to do stuff with it.’ But, the commercials don’t really tell you how you’re going to do that,” Kleinberg said.

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Having a goal of what you want to achieve can help you better make sense of the data, but Kleinberg said there can be inaccuracies.

“People use the information from their Fitbit or other devices to figure out how many calories you’re burning a day. So, that’s how many calories [you] can eat, and if [you] eat less than that, [you’re] going to lose weight,” she explained. “But, if the device is inaccurate, then you’re going to get a different result than you expect.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that adults get at least 15 minutes of moderate physical activity every week and dedicate 2 days to strengthening their muscles.

Going on walks to see holiday lights and parking farther away from stories when shopping are simple tricks the CDC says you can do to stay moving this season.

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