Many holiday shoppers no doubt will buy FtiBits so they can measure their activity once they start on their New Year’s resolutions.
But with Thanksgiving feasting around the corner, and with a new study showing the benefits of wearing the device and sharing results on social media, some fitness-minded shoppers might decide to give themselves an early gift.
Research at the University of Scranton shows that women wearing the FitBit Flex and sharing their workout results on the Fit Bit social network actually engaged in more exercise during weeks that when they had more frequent contact with others in the network.
In the study, sedentary women used the wearable devices and were assigned exercise partners. All teams in the group attended one face-to-face session that introduced the program and helped set goals. The remainder of the six-week program emphasized online communication with partners and other group members using the FitBit social network.
Danielle Arigo, assistant professor of psychology at Scranton and the study’s author, says
“social contact appears to be helpful beyond the effect of wearing the FitBit, which is important, especially for women.”
In total, there were 20 participants, and they all completed the six-week program. They also filled out online surveys about their social contact. Physical activity was highest during weeks when women had the most social contact.
“A larger trial using this approach is warranted,” said Arigo, “but our findings support the use of such devices in conjunction with social networking, and we believe that for women, social networking is beneficial in encouraging regular physical activity.”
The study is forthcoming in the journal Health Psychology & Behavioral Medicine
Arigo, D., Schumacher, L.M., Pinkasavage, E., & Butryn, M.L. (2015). Addressing barriers to physical activity among women: A feasibility study using social networking-enabled technology. Digital Health, 1, 1-12. DOI: 10.1177/2055207615583564
Butryn, M.L., Arigo, D., Raggio, G., Colasanti, M., & Forman, E.M. (in press). Enhancing physical activity promotion with technology-based self-monitoring and social connectivity: A pilot study. Journal of Health Psychology. DOI: 10.1177/1359105314558895
Arigo, D., Schumacher, L.M., & Martin, L.M. (2014). Upward appearance comparison and the development of eating pathology in college women. International Journal of Eating Disorders, 47, 467-470. DOI: 10.1002/eat.22240
Danielle Arigo, assistant professor of psychology, email@example.com, @DaniArigo (personal) or @UofSHealthPsych (research team); Stan Zygmunt, Office of Public Relations, 570-941-7662, firstname.lastname@example.org, or Bill Johnson, Halstead Communications,610-216-9808, email@example.com.