Is your fitness tracker dangerous?

I have thought about getting a fitness tracker for, oh, years. Mostly I leaned towards a fitbit. Everyone seems to love their fitbits. Somehow I could never quite pull the trigger. I came really close a few times, but I never did buy one.

Early on in my weight loss journey I wore a pedometer (before fitness trackers were really a thing). After I started to run, though, I found it wasn’t hard to get to 10,000 steps most days. My pedometer now gathers dust.

Today I’m linking up with Wendy at Taking the Long Way Home & Holly at HoHo Runs for That Time of the Month link up. And I’m going to muse a bit about the dark side of fitness trackers.


Garmin Vivoactive
Could your fitness tracker be pushing you too hard?
I don’t have a fitness tracker. No, I went one better: I got a smartwatch, the Garmin Vivoactive. Most of the time I put a lot of thought into buying things. I might have a shopping addiction, but it’s a thoughtful shopping addiction.

Every once in a while something comes along and I just have to have it. Like, yesterday. Anyone old enough to remember Zip drives? That was one of my really impulsive, gotta have it now purchases. And it was great! I used the heck out of my Zip drive.

So I love my Vivoactive, even if it has some quirks and three weeks later I’m still trying to learn its many bells & whistles.

But there is a dark side. The vivoactive will set a step goal for you each day. And it adjusts that goal based on your past activity. So if you go over your goal one day, the watch adjusts the goal up; if you’re under the next day, the watch adjusts the goal down (you can also set your own goal, by the way).

I really like that feature. I like meeting my step goal. Most days it’s not too hard. On days I run I’m always way over the goal. But even on rest days I can usually meet the goal.

And that means I pace a lot more than I used to. The animals really aren’t quite sure what to make of that. Sometimes Gizmo follows me around (he’s the cat, by the way). The watch vibrates when you’ve been sitting too long. And that’s a good thing. Or is it?

Most days I would say it’s a good thing, but yesterday, for instance, I decided that I’d rest up a bit more since I had 9 miles to run today. I made a conscious decision to not pace in response to my watch.

Rest days aren’t yet programmed into the watch. I guess in some ways my watch isn’t so smart after all. Because every once in a while you need to really rest. Even thought I didn’t meet my step goal yesterday, I still walked the dogs, I did Core Essentials in the morning, I did about 20 minutes of core exercises that also focused on my hips in the afternoon (think clamshells, leg lifts, all those exercises that are so good for strengthening my glutes and helping my IT band), and did some yamuna body rolling (also to help the IT band).

That’s a fair amount of activity for a rest day, no? Active recovery, as they say. But none of it gets me more steps. And it’s oh so tempting to meet my step goal every day because hey, I’m a type A person when it comes to exercise. I got a measly 8,000 steps in yesterday, btw.

Today? It’s not yet 11 am and I’m already over 22,000, which is a new record since I’ve had my Vivoactive (but I think the most steps I’ve had in one day was 27,000 — and I think that was actually without running — while traveling & exploring, which can really rack up the steps, too.

Do you think your fitness tracker actually pushes you to overexercise sometimes?

Join in the fun & let us know what’s on your mind at That Time of the Month

That Time of the Month
That Time of the Month

28 thoughts on “Is your fitness tracker dangerous?

  1. Wow… a zip drive. I wonder if I still have one in the garage with my Commodore 128? I do still have a Fitbit One. I upgraded to a wrist one (ChargeHR) and didn’t like it. But a couple of weeks ago, I jumped into the smartwatch arena and got an Apple Watch. It does the same sort of things as yours but sets an active calorie burn rather than a step goal. That’s even harder to achieve in my opinion. I do like the buzz to remind me to get up and walk around once an hour, though. It has no rest day either.


    1. Cool! I don’t have an iphone and the vivoactive was a bit cheaper. Do you like it? I really do love the vivoactive. And yes, I definitely like that reminder to move – although yesteday & today I’m ignoring it. Back at it with easy recovery tomorrow, though.


      1. I do really like that apple watch. It’s nice to get text messages without having to get my phone out of my purse. I thought about the vivoactive.
        I’m a packrat, so stuff stays with me waaaaaay too long.


      2. I don’t get a whole lot of texts, and I do have trouble with the phone -watch connection getting unsynced. A LOT. But sometimes I get the notifications & I agree, that’s cool! Although I can’t answer them, but just read them.


      3. I sacrifice true GPS and battery life for a watch that is truly compatible with my phone. I can reply to texts, answer calls, use apple pay. I guess it all comes down to personal preference.


      4. Do you find you can actually reply to a text on the watch? I don’t see how that’s even possible! Another woman in my group got the garmin 225, which I also considered. I like the idea of the optical HRM, because I’ll never wear a strap. But I’ve been running a long time without knowing my HR so I think I’ll survive; if would just be cool to know.


      5. Yes, Siri takes dictation. You can send the reply as a text or voice message. I hate wearing a chest strap…too many chaffing issues. It’s nice to have the optical HRM. I considered the 225 as well. The down side is that the workout app doesn’t actually give you a map of your outdoor runs or give you your mile splits after the run….or I haven’t found that info yet.You need to also use runkeeper or another app to get your mile splits and a map.


  2. Been thinking/ talking about this over the past week. When I last ran properly (over 7 years ago) these things weren’t around. You just ran how you felt, or used… you know… a watch! 😉 I’d love something like a Garmin. My friends all seem to have them. But I worry that for someone like me, who loves planning/ numbers/ analysing, I’d become too obsessed with the number. I also wonder just how accurate I need to be. But I might just be telling myself this to reassure myself that I don’t need one 😉 If someone waved one in front of me and said I could have it, I’d grab it in an instant! 🙂


    1. I trained for my first half without a GPS watch, but I prefer having one. I’m good about not watching my pace on easy runs. I don’t even watch it that much on long runs – but I do on speedwork & tempo. My body tends to run really slow if I let it!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I hate that the Garmin devices don’t give you credit for other activities – like cycling or strength training. I hit 48000+ steps on our 18+ mile hike — that really messed up my target steps for the next day!


    1. Wow. Just wow. How did you move after that?

      The vivoactive does track walking, cycling & swimming. But not yoga or strength training. Although I think you can manually enter stuff for that. I don’t need to be quite that anal. 🙂


  4. I have a Fitbit and like it very much. I do the challenges most weeks with friends. When I first got it, I admit I went overboard with some crazy stepping. When it was time to really start training for my marathon, I had to let some of those steps go and focus on running. It was causing my hips to hurt to do both. I think I have a new record of steps today 37,000 because I ran 17 miles this morning. Maybe I’ll hit 40,000. Tomorrow, I’ll do very little. I do think we should have complete rest days. Thank you Judy for linking up with us today! I appreciate it.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I don’t have any of these. Not even a Garmin. I’m a bit ocd, so I know I’d go crazy with all the feedback. I’m so nuts, I had to get rid of the scales from my house. I’d weigh myself constantly. Even after I used the restroom to see if I dropped any weight. As I tell my husband, I have to manage my crazy!


  6. I’ve been wanting to get one, but I hadn’t until today. My Garmin 305 died and I just ordered a Garmin 15, which is one of their cheapest models, but it says it also doubles as an activity tracker. I hope I like it!


  7. I have a fitbit. I’ve had one maybe 4 years. I’ve had 3. I currently have the Charge with HR. It’s something new and when I first got it with the HR I was all about trying to stay in the zones and all. But now I don’t worry too much about HR, sure it’s interesting when your running. I do pay attention to my steps. I too participate in the challenges. I sit at a desk all day so it helps me to get up and walk around the office during the day. I do feel like it motivates me to move more. 🙂


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