Fitness Devices Encourage Users to Meet Health Goals
Misfit. Fitbit. FuelBand. Jawbone. SmartBand.
- Alternative rock groups
- Gang members’ names
- Wearable fitness trackers
Give yourself a hand if you correctly answered C. Chances are you already knew the answer and could add a name or two to the growing number of connected health and fitness devices on the market today.
These wearable devices track the user’s fitness levels, such as calories burned and distance travelled. The default goal for most is 10,000 daily steps, which is roughly five miles, but can be customized.
The market for wearable fitness tracking devices is a burgeoning business: The number produced was 17.7 million in 2014; and 40.7 million in 2015. According to research firm IDC, more than 100 million fitness devices that are worn on your wrist like a watch will be sold worldwide by 2019.
Although the majority of these devices are purchased by the user, many employers are doling them out to employees who participate in their companies’ fitness programs. Crawford & Company in 2015 provided close to 1,300 Fitbits to employees who signed up for the Fitbit Challenge through the Crawford Healthy Living Program. Participants were encouraged to surpass 400,000 steps during a 10-week timeframe.
The goal of the Crawford Fitbit initiative was two-fold: to build employee awareness about their current activity level and to improve the health of the company workforce.
“Our longer-term goal is to improve the health status of our employee population, which will leave a positive impact on the claims experience under our self-insured medical plans,” said Melanie Busch, Crawford benefits specialist. “We also knew that the incentive of offering a Fitbit would increase interest in the challenge, therefore increasing the number of people who are working on their health.”
Busch further explained that many employees continue to wear their Crawford-branded Fitbits and have shared that using them has changed their lives for the better. Additionally, the Healthy Living Program continues to issue employee challenges in which the use of Fitbits in encouraged.
The Future of Fitness-Related and Other Wearables
It’s still early in the evolution of wearables. In an article published in readwrite.com entitled, “5 Predictions for the Future of Wearables,” author Andrew Hooge suggested that wearable devices are still in the toddler phase. And already, hundreds of devices are available that monitor everything from steps to sleep to blood glucose levels.
“This emerging category of body-worn devices will become increasingly important—so much so that they will shape the story of the 21st century,” Hooge said.