Vikas Jain, Co-founder, PLAY

Vikas Jain is the Co-Founder of PLAY, an Indian consumer technology brand working on a mission to equip consumers with state-of-the-art, trendy & futuristic, smart-hearables, on the back of elegant design and premium quality. At the helm of the technologically advanced company, Vikas oversees critical functions & spearheads the customers journey with PLAY. Vikas plays an active role in defining the company’s vision and growth strategy while also building and guiding the team as the chief mentor. After completing his Mechanical Engineering from New Delhi in 1996, Vikas has in the past worked with global MNC like TELCO, Daewoo Motors and GE Transportation, USA. Before establishing his latest venture in the smart AioT ecosystem with PLAY, Vikas, in the year 2000, has also co-founded Micromax, the leading consumer brand of India. With close to 25 years of combined experience in the startup ecosystem and the engineering industry, he ensures that PLAY consistently moves forth on its growth trajectory and reflects upon its vision to provide for a differentiated consumer experience to its customers.

In modern times, one of the biggest priorities for every individual is to lead a healthy lifestyle. Whether or not they can take concrete actions to fulfil this desire is a matter of discussion. Having said that, there’s no arguing that modern-day consumers spend more time and energy on staying physically and mentally fit than their predecessors. 

In this context, futuristic and smart gadgets like smartwatches, fitness trackers, sweat-resistant hearables and other devices have created a niche space in the market. Ask any fitness-conscious individual, and it is 100% sure that they own at least one of the aforementioned gadgets. But the question is, do they really work? 

In this article, we will comprehensively overview the truth behind fitness trackers, a new-age sporty gadget. 

The advent of fitness trackers

Mostly worn on the wrist, fitness bands track wearers’ physical activity, sleep quality, and other vitals while relaying this information via smartphones or websites. At their launch, fitness bands were all the rage, but with time, studies cropped up demonstrating their redundancy. The industry has responded well to the challenge, and modern trackers come equipped with GPS and other cutting-edge features. They can record information about the route taken, speed of activity, and the distance covered with utmost ease. These bands allow fitness enthusiasts to monitor their activity levels and set achievable goals. They combine biological markers with emotional and social support, which has proven to be effective in encouraging positive health behaviour. 

Innovation is required to increase their utility

There is a paucity of quality studies on the long-term impact of wearing fitness trackers on health and wellness. However, the studies that do exist present a lopsided view. For example, a study conducted on 800 participants in 2014 showed that wearing fitness trackers led to no significant changes in the individual’s health and well-being after one year. Another study conducted between the years 2010-2012, conducted by the University of Pittsburgh compared the amount of weight loss between two groups- one wearing trackers and the other without them. The results indicated that the group without trackers lost more weight than the group using fitness trackers. 

However, both these studies were conducted using fitness bands which were basically revamped pedometers. They failed to account for behavioural aspects of health and fitness. Modern bands overcome this problem. They provide individuals with motivation and constant reminders when they have been sedentary for a specified period. Recent studies have illustrated the effectiveness of comparative results and encouragement in the form of reminders in instilling healthy behaviour. 

Another criticism levied against these brands is that wearing fitness trackers requires effort and commitment to charging regularly or updating and syncing them with smartphones. Manufacturers have considered this, and brands today have a long battery life to ensure an easy user experience.

Wearing fitness trackers impacts mood 

The relationship between physical activity and mood changes is well documented. Studies have suggested that even simple exercises like walking can release endorphins in the body. It can also help reduce stress, elevate mood, and combat anxiety and depression. 

In addition, fitness trackers help in monitoring activity. They enable individuals to get a sense of achievement and keep them motivated. Conversely, studies have indicated that people wearing fitness bands have reported feeling guilty for not wearing them. But companies today have tried to put a spin on this guilt through positive messaging. In fact, recently, it has been shown that even health professionals are advocating the use of fitness bands for particular patient groups. 

Fitness bands are here to stay!

In light of the above criticisms, it is unsurprising that the fitness trackers market has seen a fair share of ups and downs. However, it’s unlikely that these products will be off the charts. Leading wearable companies have incorporated several changes in this technology and are likely to witness an increase in sales in the near future. Some new features assimilated into these bands are heartbeat trackers, a long battery life, and a waterproof body. 

Companies have now also started focusing on effectively consolidating collected information and their presentation in an easy and comprehensible way. Furthermore, modern devices are also using social networks to boost a sense of competition and motivate individuals. They also provide a personalised experience and customise fitness goals facilities so that customers can have an achievable mindset.

To conclude, manufacturers are constantly adding features and improving the effectiveness of their products. They regularly borrow psychology and behavioural sciences concepts to enhance the user experience. Given the scenario, it seems that fitness bands are here to stay, albeit with improvements. 

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