Thursday, 20 June 2019

“I broke up with my fitness tracker – here’s why I think you should too” – Stylist Magazine

Asae Uncategorized 0

The break-up

It wasn’t a dramatic break-up. We didn’t scream at each other or find out one of us was cheating. But small issues started to build up. Initially, I didn’t mind friends linking to my fitness tracking account. It meant we could see each other’s runs with the intention of supporting one another. Wonderful!

But the trouble started when I began to find it competitive rather than up-lifting.

For me, the comparison when I saw their achievements was self-inflicted or imposed. I didn’t feel like they were showing off, but I did feel like their efforts and achievements were better than mine. But in the ‘happy going up to 5k’ bubble I was in, seeing other people achieve up to 10k on a morning run made me feel deflated and a little like I just wasn’t doing enough. 

I would chastise my 3km efforts after friends posted long runs on the same day. While I was out running, I felt good. But other people’s 7km sprints and 10k strolls sat heavy on my heart long after the endorphins wore off. 

A 2016 study by Marco Wittmann from the University of Oxford highlighted how people’s judgments of themselves are inextricably linked to their perceptions of others. He warned people who are prone to comparing themselves to others should “take the specific social context” into account.

Maybe that was my downfall? I couldn’t separate my run from someone else’s in my mind. It felt like the competition was on – and I was falling behind.

Then came the email that really broke down my relationship with the app: my monthly stats. As well as tracking runs using GPS, the app records your progress and sends a detailed breakdown showing how many days you’ve been ‘active’ for that month.

For me in May, that was a grand total of… two.

And right there, in my inbox, it might as well have said FAIL.

I knew full-well I’d been active for more than two days in May. If I’m not running, I’m walking dogs with friends, doing yoga or going to fitness classes at the gym. But you can’t track these things easily on an app. Sure, I could get a wearable, but I know I’d spend half the spin class staring at it.

So, I began to think perhaps life might be better without my fitness app life partner? I was going to break up with it.


« »