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When Does Your Fitness Watch Become Unhealthy?

Oct 19, 2023

I’ve got a love-hate relationship with fitness watches.

They can provide valuable health and fitness insights. And it’s great they are helping people build healthy habits.

But there are instances where they can do more harm than good.

  • When you can’t ‘not track’

When it becomes obsessive and something you can no longer ‘not do’, then it’s no longer healthy. It’s for that reason I’ll often tell clients to leave their apple watch at home when they holiday. You don’t always need to be chasing that step count and closing your move rings.

  • When you lose touch with how feel and rely on data

The technology is getting better but fitness watches still aren’t as accurate as we’d like to think. They can provide helpful feedback on things like heart rate and how well you’ve slept but not at the expense of listening to your body and trusting how you feel.

  • When workouts are data driven 

I hate the idea of people becoming disillusioned because they don’t feel they’ve burned enough calories. Or staying in the gym until they have. It can lead to an unhealthy association with exercise. Especially when the data isn’t always accurate.

  • When you can’t escape notifications

This is my biggest bugbear. I’ve had clients lift their arm mid-exercise because a text or call came through their watch. People who are insanely busy, who’ve managed to carve out precious time to train and they’re still getting interrupted.

It’s like we’re never off now.

At any moment, wherever we are, and whatever we’re doing we can get calls, texts and emails through our watches. We’re rarely more than a metre from your phone, it’s rare we need notifications through our watches too.

It’s not healthy to always be on.

I think they can be a great tool and when used right they can provide helpful data and feedback. But they shouldn’t be solely relied on.

And I personally think most people would benefit from disabling calls, texts and emails on their watches.