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philipbrewer
philipbrewer
It’s not your device; it’s your device disorder philipbrewer.net
jayeless
jayeless

@philipbrewer I agree with you! On a similar note, a while ago I read an article that went like, "Fitness trackers DON'T WORK: when two groups of people ate the same diet and did the same amount of exercise, one wearing fitness trackers and the other not, both groups lost the same amount of weight." I was just so bewildered how that article even got published, as if people think a fitness tracker magically helps you reach your goals by itself rather than by motivating you to make healthier choices. I think some people can get a bit too obsessed with them (like if someone's at the point of "gaming" their tracker...) but I find it useful for me :)

Cheri
Cheri

@jayeless @philipbrewer Great post! My favorite fitness tracker anecdote was the guy who was startled to see his step-count so high, only to realize his dog had swallowed his Fitbit. Perhaps that's our next fitness solution? Zoomies, human edition.

pratik
pratik

@philipbrewer I know what you mean. I stopped using Sleep Cycle because I got too obssessed tracking my sleep and that caused me to lose sleep.

pratik
pratik

@jayeless I can see the logic in that research design. Depends on what the fitness tracker is tracking, sometimes being aware has a beneficial effect. Much like the observation effect i.e. being observed changes your behavior.

philipbrewer
philipbrewer

@jayeless Ha! If you poke around on my website you'll eventually find the "gamification" tag, where I talk quite a bit about gamifying exercise—a topic on which I have rather mixed feelings, perhaps expressed best in the post: www.philipbrewer.net/2015/09/0...

philipbrewer
philipbrewer

@Cheri I read a long sad article by a guy who started walking more, because he had a new baby he was pushing in a stroller. Except, he found that his step count went down. Turned out, with his hands on the stroller handle, the didn't move as much, so his FitBit was failing to notice a large fraction of his steps. :-)

In reply to
philipbrewer
philipbrewer

@pratik I'm pretty good at not obsessing over my sleep/fitness metrics. I have other things I obsess about though, which cause sleep problems, meaning that my Oura ring data can be useful in helping me optimize the things I can control, with a eye toward better sleep.

jayeless
jayeless

@pratik Yeah, to be clearer, my distaste was definitely for how the article had written up the study's findings, rather than for the study itself. It seems to happen a lot that in pursuit of an "angle", publications oversimplify and even misrepresent the actual conclusions of the researchers, so I wasn't going to assume the study was the problem.

jayeless
jayeless

@philipbrewer Another interesting post! 🙂 I've certainly thought before about the various apps that gamify language learning, and I have mixed feelings about that too. When I catch myself spamming the Duolingo match-up game to get more points instead of actually working through lessons, that's when I get the feeling that gamification has gone very wrong. But where systems reward effort and progress instead of, uh, whatever the match-up game is, I think it's nifty. So I relate to your thoughts on gamified exercise!

pratik
pratik

@jayeless oh! I know only too well the disconnect between research findings and media reports of them. That’s why I pick & choose reporters I talk too. Protip: stay away from those who ask for an interview and mention their deadline is tomorrow in the same breath.