Self-tracking of daily physical activity using a fitness tracker and the effect of the 10,000 steps goal

Utesch, T., Piesch, L., Busch, L., Strauss, B., & Geukes, K.

Forschungsartikel (Zeitschrift)


Activity self-tracking technologies have become a popular tool for monitoring physical activity, used to assist individuals in increasing physical activity. Previous findings, however, are inconclusive on whether standalone activity self-tracking, alone or in combination with a step goal, is efficient in encouraging physical activity behavior. This study aimed at investigating the effects of mere activity self-tracking and activity self-tracking with a daily 10,000 steps goal on physical activity levels in a randomized-controlled parallel group trial (N = 150; mean age= 24.66, standard deviation = 4.75), using a publicly available fitness tracker and associated smartphone application. Two experimental groups, one of which without and the other with step goal, recorded daily physical activity (daily step count) via a fitness tracker wearable and associated smartphone application and via daily self-reports of activity over the course of 6 weeks. An unequipped control group recorded physical activity only via daily self-reports. Both experimental groups were compared against each other based on step count data, and against the control group based on daily self-reports of activity. Results of mixed-effect multilevel analyses suggest that activity tracking using fitness trackers and externally assigned goals do not drive greater physical activity behavior. Rather, results indicate substantial individual differences that should be targeted in future studies to better understand individual behavioral processes boosting or hindering daily activity.

Details zur Publikation

Veröffentlichungsjahr: 2022
Sprache, in der die Publikation verfasst istEnglisch
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