We asked experts your burning questions about fitness trackers. Here's how the wearable devices could make you fitter and healthier.
Wondering if a wearable fitness tracker will help you on your journey to get fit? We asked the experts whether the latest fitness devices can really help us get healthy.
How accurate are these trackers?
It may vary by tracker (wearable device or app), many of which have not been publicly tested. Research on some smartphone apps, for instance, has turned up discrepancies in distances travelled, with apps either over- or underestimating how many steps you're taking when compared with more sophisticated treadmill measurements. Be cautious about focusing on specific numbers, especially when it comes to calories, as studies show apps (and even treadmills, for that matter) aren't necessarily accurate, says Mary Jung, assistant professor and health researcher at The University of British Columbia.
That said, both types of trackers are useful for recording your own trends. "As long as you're comparing yourself with yourself over time, you're going to see changes in your life relatively accurately picked up," says Greg Wells, associate professor and physiology and kinesiology researcher at the University of Toronto. These changes might include increasing the amount you walk or run each day, improving your heart rate and reducing the amount of time you sit. Wells has had success with the Apple Watch while training for an Ironman competition, and using apps such as Runkeeper and Strava for cycling.
Do they help us get more fit?
The short answer is yes, says Wells, because the data can be motivating. Adds Jung: "They provide an opportunity to see whether you are doing more or less than you did yesterday, and reminders encourage you to get up and be active."
That's particularly helpful for sedentary people who want to be more active, says Wells. About 85 percent of Canadians aren't active enough to help prevent chronic illness. "Knowing how much you're walking and moving is powerful information," he says, "and most people need to improve those numbers."
When don't they work?
Another major critique of trackers is they don't yet offer context for the numbers they record—why are Tuesdays your worst day for walking or why did your running pace slow down over the week? Not surprisingly, about a third of devices get abandoned after six months. But, as Wells points out, that's actually not a bad statistic. "It means about 70 percent are still using them," he says. "That's a massive success story."
How can we overcome the devices' (and our own) shortcomings?
Choose the right tracker. "The best ones will provide users with weekly or monthly reports so they can self-monitor and use the data to self-reflect," says Jung. If you're honest with yourself, you can see if what you're doing is getting you toward your goals, she adds.
Do I have to wear my device every day?
No, you can wear it strategically—one day a week or even every two months. If you want to wear it daily, go for it, says Wells, "but if you feel it's onerous or annoying, put it in your desk drawer and set a reminder in your computer to wear it again in six weeks to see how things are going."
Find out which celebrities are switching up their hairstyles, haircuts and hair colours in 2016.
Teigen has been rocking blonde beach waves for as long as we can remember.
Teigen adds bangs to her look as a great fall hair update.
The Game of Thrones star has been brunette for awhile, and we have to admit, it's a stunning look for the actor.
We're loving the star's new lighter shade!
Orlando Bloom's thick, wavy brunette 'do is #hairgoals for men.
Bloom is giving us Legolas flashbacks with his new platinum locks.
Lily Collins tried this bold red hue for the summer—and she pulls it off!
We love that Collins has gone back to her roots with this rich brunette colour for fall.
Earlier this year, Emma Roberts chopped her hair off and opted for a cute, blond bob.
This British supermodel has been consistent with her blond balayage ombre.
Recently, though, she made a drastic change with her bright, new locks. We can't decide whether to call it auburn or ginger but we love it.
If you thought Kim's angled lob was a dramatic change, then you're in for a surprise.
She changed her hair again and this time she's added extensions that trail down to her hips. We're loving how bohemian she looks!
Recently, she went blonder and added some extensions.
Daisy Ridley was absolutely fabulous this year in her long brown bob.
Her short, red bob might just top that! It's chic, summery and we love the colour.
This former Victoria's Secret Angel had been a sandy blonde for as long as we can remember.
She not only went blonder but also added a pretty pink to her beautiful tresses.
We didn't think we could love anything more than that lob on this fan-favourite actress.
Until we met these braids! They're fun and hip and we can't wait to see more looks.
Cara Delevingne has been killing it in 2016 with those long blonde locks.
She chopped them off and opted for a cute low bob. And we heart it!
This 'Jane the Virgin' star has been sporting long brunette waves for quite some time.
Recently, she debuted her cute, new look: a cute blond bob. We have to say, we love the ombre!
Elle Fanning has always rocked her natural blonde locks.
But recently, the actress decided to make a bold change, going for cotton candy pink hair.
This young Game of Thrones star is starting to become a regular style icon...
And recently, she's embraced the new reputation by going for a bold teal hair colour.
Lily Collins' brown hair used to match that of Snow White, the character she played in her breakout role in the movie Mirror Mirror.
Now her red locks are more similar to Ariel's of The Little Mermaid.
Taylor Swift was rocking side fringe and a collarbone lob for a while...
... before chopping her hair into a blunt Anna-Wintour-esque bob.
For her May 2016 Vogue cover, the pop princess made another drastic hair change, going for a super light bleach blonde look.
Christina Aguliera is known for strong set of pipes and her platinum blonde hair.
But recently the The Voice judge decided to make a change by going red.
Victoria Beckham isn't really a stranger to drastic hair changes (remember her blonde pixie cut?), but over the past few months the fashionista has been keeping her hair natural and long.
Until recently when she decided to cut a few inches for a pretty bob 'do.
Rooney Mara has been rocking dark, dark hair for as long as we can remember.
But lately she's been seen out and about rocking a different look: platinum locks.
We're used to seeing Lana Del Rey pairing her vintage outfits with her long brown hair.
As this year's warm weather approached though, the singer decided to lighten her hair to match the summer season.
Eva Longoria Bastón's long, thick hair have always been a trademark of hers—one of the reasons why she's a L'Oréal Paris hair spokesmodel.
But shortly after tying the knot with new hubby José Bastón, the actress went for a cut, opting for a cute lob.
Our favourite Oscar winner from 2016 is usually seen with natural-hued golden tresses.
But with big changes (An engagement! An Oscar!), this celebrity decided to switch up her 'do too for a fiery red. We love it.
Emma Stone has been a redhead for as long as we can remember (minus that blond stint as Gwen Stacey).
But now she's switched up her colour for a deep, sultry chocolate.
Emma Stone's been busy in the hair department in 2016. She went from red, to brunette and now you'll see her sporting a platinum shade.
Kristen has been sporting a short, choppy 'do in her natural brunette for 2016.
But now she's gone bleach blonde.
Emma Roberts has been sporting a blonde lob for a while now.
But she's recently switched up her look in favour of a reddish-brownish shade that we love for spring. (The braided 'do is a nice touch too!)
Cate Blanchett has been rocking blonde hair for awhile—and who can blame her? It looks great.
We were tickled pink (sorry!) when we saw that our favourite red carpet regular, Cate Blanchett dyed her blonde hair pink. Is there anything she can't pull off?
Kaia Gerber (Cindy Crawford's daughter for those drawing a blank) has rocked long and soft brunette waves which doesn't fail to draw comparisons to her famous mom.
Brunette, be gone! Gerber switched in her flowing locks for a choppy, bright blonde lob.
Ever since Woodley chopped off her waist-length hair several years ago, she's been shorter and blonder, especially in the Divergent movie series.
With the release of the latest Divergent movie, Woodley is back in the spotlight—and sporting a wavy, brunette lob.
Chrissy Teigen has sported long, flowing, beach-bombshell waves since before we can remember.
Mom-to-be Teigen asked for the "Rosie-Khloe" and got a blunt, textured lob in 2016.
Emma Watson is no stranger to dramatic hair cuts (she rocked a pixie for a while), but she's kept it safe lately with longer, layered locks.
Watson debuted a choppy, bob hairstyle in early 2016.
Sarah Hyland has been on the ombre train for some time, whether her hair has been long or shorter.
The actor decided to take a walk on the dark side with this new almost-black 'do.
Stacy Martin's long, natural hair is reminiscent of some of our favourite ladies from the 1960's. Think Joni Mitchell and Jane Birkin.
She's since opted for a short, choppy lob—and we love it!
Kylie Jenner is no stranger to dramatic hair transformations, but lately she's been sporting her natural dark brown.
Say goodbye to natural and hello to navy blue!
Allison Williams' long, cascading waves are the definition of #hairgoals.
The Girls actor added fringe this year for a hairstyle change.
Don't lock yourself into a monogamous relationship with just one coat this winter. Play the field and add one (or maybe two) of these beautiful, trendy and affordable coats to your outerwear roster.
New Look quitted jacket with hood, $70.
Utility anorak, $89.
First & I belted coat, $70.
Open-front longline jacket, $83.
Cold Comfort max puffer jacket, $148.
Navy peacoat, $130.
Parka (sizes 14-24), $99.
Jessica women's buffalo plaid coat, $130.
Bonded faux leather wide collar jacket, $148.
Coat with concealed seam, $90.
Soft shell coat with faux leather sleeves, $149.
Check wool blend open collar coat, $110.
TOPSHOP Hooded Fur Coat, $135.