Fitness trackers really do work when it comes to hitting your weight loss goals

Why fitness trackers are some of the best tools in your weight loss arsenal. Picked one up yet?

Checking a fitness tracker
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Do you track the fitness you're doing? Whether you're counting calories, using a pen-and-paper exercise journal or keeping a log of your workouts on your phone, tracking your fitness is always a good idea. Research has shown recording your exercise and food choices could more than double your progress. But these days, the most common way of keeping track of your workouts is on your wrist. 

The best fitness trackers and best fitness watches do more than count the calories you burn. They also log your sleep patterns, heart rate, and offer more advanced metrics such as monitoring your VO2 max during exercise, as well as alerting you to get out of your chair and stretch for a bit during long work days. 

If you struggle with motivating yourself to lose weight, a fitness tracker could help, according to one study from the British Journal of Sports Medicine.

Researchers examined the data on 2268 different people collected between 2007 and 2020, looking at the data from Fitbit, SenseWear Armband, Jawbone, Polar smartwatches, Samsung Charm, FitMeter and Withings Pulse. The research found in general, "All types of wearable devices helped their users lose weight and reduce their BMI", with a reduction in BMI of around 2. 

adjusting a fitness tracker

(Image credit: Getty Images)

This is a pretty big deal. Without any additional help or support, owning a fitness tracker (and the encouragement and reminders that come thereof) is sufficient to drop your BMI a couple of points, a great start. 

Combined with other interventions such as dieting and counselling, the average drop increased to 3.4. Considering the "healthy range" of BMI is 18.5 to 24.9, that is a significant decrease and could mean the difference between "overweight" and "healthy".

One of the best ways to use your fitness tracker is to follow along with some of the workouts it suggests. The fitness watches such as the Apple Watch might display how-to-guides and diagrams on the watch face itself, or it might interface with an app such as Fitbit Premium, which contains a smorgasbord of follow-along instructions and workout profiles for you to sink your teeth into. 

However, one of the most useful things about trackers and watches will always be the step counters. If you're not an active person, being prompted to move more n a daily basis might be the absolute best thing for your heart health. Time to check out our Fitbit deals page?

Matt Evans

Matt Evans is an experienced health and fitness journalist and is currently Fitness and Wellbeing Editor at TechRadar, covering all things exercise and nutrition on Fit&Well's tech-focused sister site. Matt originally discovered exercise through martial arts: he holds a black belt in Karate and remains a keen runner, gym-goer, and infrequent yogi. His top fitness tip? Stretch.