man holding phone open with app checking fitness tracker

Fitness Trackers Aren't BS—Research Proves They Boost Physical and Mental Health

A scientific review confirms what we suspected.


  • Wearable tech helps you set weight loss goals with daily exercise tasks.
  • Smart watches and fitness trackers improve fitness goals which positively affect cardiovascular diseases and mental illness.

Researchers in Australia confirmed what millions of people think—fitness trackers actually motivate you to work out. Apple Watch, FitBit, and Whoop, among others, are more than a fad—they’re tools to encourage daily movement.

A scientific review found that wearable tech (fitness trackers, smart watches, and pedometers) encourages users to exercise at least 40 minutes a day, resulting in weight loss. According to study authors, investing in one is a relatively low-cost way to improve health conditions caused by lack of exercise, including cardiovascular disease, stroke, diabetes, and mental illness.

Fitness Tech as a Weight Loss Motivator

After reviewing 400 studies involving 164,000 people worldwide who monitor their physical activity with wearable activity trackers (WATs), researchers found that users lost an average of two pounds in five months from just 40 minutes of walking per day.

“The study review shows that wearable activity trackers are effective [for weight loss] across all age groups and for long periods of time,” says lead researcher, Ty Ferguson in a University of South Australia press release. “They encourage people to exercise on a regular basis, to make it part of their routine, and to set goals to lose weight.”

Despite participants only losing a little over two pounds in five months, researchers say this is an important step in the right direction.

“The average person gains about 0.5 kilograms (1.1 pounds) a year in weight creep so losing 1 kilograms (2.2 pounds) over five months is significant, especially when you consider that two thirds of Australians are overweight or obese,” says Carol Maher, Ph.D., research professor in the Alliance for Research in Exercise, Nutrition and Activity (ARENA) at University of South Australia.

When it comes to Americans, over 30 percent are overweight and over 40 percent have obesity, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.

Wearable Tech

Improves Overall Health

Evidence points to wearable tech as beneficial tools to help lower blood pressure and cholesterol while tackling diseases like cardiovascular disease and mental illness.

Heart Health

Regular exercise boosts heart health by lowering your blood pressure, reducing inflammation, and lessening your risk of diabetes, according to Johns Hopkins.

“Fitness trackers are a great tool for heart health,” says Seth Martin, M.D., M.H.S., cardiologist at Johns Hopkins. “Being more active and changing your habits is important, but it can be difficult. Tracking likely helps a lot of people when combined with a clear goal to shoot for.”

Mental Health

“The other reported benefit is that WATs improved depression and anxiety through an increase in physical activity,” says Ferguson.

Regular exercise is linked to easing depression and anxiety, according to the Mayo Clinic, because movement releases feel-good hormones called endorphins that enhance positive thinking and well-being. It’s a win-win.

The Bottom Line

Wearable tech is a billion-dollar industry worthy of every cent. Smart watches and fitness trackers allow you to set weight loss goals and create incentives for exercise, which is proven to improve your mental and physical health and overall quality of life.

Wearable Tech