We all know how important exercise is for our health and well being, but unfortunately Americans still tend to live a sedentary lifestyle, getting little or no physical activity in our daily lives. More than 60% of American adults are not regularly active, and 25% of the adult population is not active at all. Some of this is due to trends in economic growth and technological advancements. We drive more and walk less. We sit in front of computers during the day and TVs at night. While weight gain is certainly a result of this inactivity, more frightening are the 20-plus deadly chronic health conditions associated with physical inactivity.
A study led by kinesiology researchers at the University of Tennessee revealed that the average adult takes just over 5,000 step per day, barely half the daily recommended by the U.S. Surgeon General. But, thanks to the ever growing sports and fitness industry, we are proving our willingness to try new ways to get in shape, and many of those methods are digital. Leading the market are companies manufacturing wearable devices for monitoring and tracking personal fitness levels that typically operate in concert with a phone or computer applications that provide analytics, encouragement and social media or gaming components. ABI Research estimates that the total number of wearable devices with fitness and wellness applications will grow from 16.2 million in 2011 to 93 million in 2017.
Fitbit is at the forefront of this trend with the top-selling health and wellness product at stores like Best Buy, Target, REI and Brookstone. Released in 2009 as the first wireless wearable fitness device for the mass consumer market, Fitbit is packed with tiny sensors that track and display various activity metrics, including number of steps taken, distance traveled, stairs climbed and calories burned. Fitbit can even monitor sleep telling you how many times you awoke during the night and scoring your sleep efficiency.
Nike FuelBand SE and Jawbone Up are two other fitness trackers available to consumers interested in monitoring their activity levels. The Nike FuelBand SE is considered more sporty, while Fitbit Force and Jawbone Up are more simplistic and inconspicuous.
Whichever model you choose, one thing is proving true for some people; monitoring their fitness has greatly improved their health and well being. But just wearing the bands and monitoring your activity isn’t enough. You actually have to get moving if you want to see results.
- Grocery shopping habits vary by household income with lower-income households shopping less often than middle- or high-income households. Four in 10 households (39%) shop for groceries once a week, while 35% shop two or more times a week. Almost one in five households with incomes below $40,000 shop just once a month. (The Online Grocery Shopper 2013 Report – The Hartman Group)
- Almost half of Americans who describe themselves as overweight (46%) say some or many of their friends and/or family are also overweight, compared with 30% of those who consider themselves to be a healthy weight. (Gallup; 202-715-3030)
- One in six Americans (16%) provide unpaid care to an elderly person, either related or unrelated to them. (Bureau of Labor Statistics; 202-691-6339)
- Almost three in 10 Americans ages six and older (28%) are completely inactive – participating in no sports or fitness activities requiring physical exertion.(2013 Participation Report; Physical Activity Council)
- Swedish researchers have found that when people lose weight by changing their eating habits, their memory and mind get sharper. After losing an average of 17.6 pounds, participants in a study scored better on memory tests.(Experience Life Magazine January/February 2014)