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Health Fusion: Smart watches help you move a little more, study shows

Do smart watches and other wearable activity devices make a difference in your activity level? A new study reveals that activity monitors do help adults move more. Get the details in this episode of NewsMD's "Health Fusion" with Viv Williams.

Wearable devices and fitness tracker
Wearable devices and fitness trackers may help you move more
Viv Williams

ROCHESTER — Many people use fitness trackers, apps and wearable devices to help boost activity levels. The technology encourages you to get more steps in every day or complete a certain amount of exercise. But do they work? Studies have been mixed.

New research from Denmark published in the British Medical Journal shows that the devices do work, but the effects are small to moderate — equal to 1,235 extra steps a day and approximately 50 extra minutes of moderate to vigorous activity per week. And that devices that give feedback seem to be more effective than those that don't.

The researchers say their findings suggest that the devices could be beneficial for adults who don't meet the recommended amounts of physical activity.

They also suggest ideas for future research, including how physical activity monitors can be used in combination with other behavioral change strategies or how they might affect the amount of time you spend being sedentary.

The American Heart Association's website notes that only one out of five adults gets the recommended 150 minutes of moderate physical activity every week. Or 75 minutes of vigorous activity. And, the organization says inactivity and sitting too much is linked to an increased risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, colon and lung cancers, and early death. Moving more will help to reduce those risks.


Follow the  Health Fusion podcast on  Apple Spotify and  Google podcasts. For comments or other podcast episode ideas, email Viv Williams at  vwilliams@newsmd.com . Or on Twitter/Instagram/FB @vivwilliamstv.

Opinion by Viv Williams
Viv Williams hosts the NewsMD podcast and column, "Health Fusion." She is an Emmy (and other) award-winning health and medical reporter whose stories have run on TV, digital and newspaper outlets nationwide. Viv is passionate about boosting people's health and happiness by helping them access credible, reliable and research-based health information from top experts. She regularly interviews experts and patients from leading medical institutions, such as Mayo Clinic.
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