My fitbit died a sudden death in Sept. 2021. From tracking my every step and swim stroke it went dark. My first instinct was to order another one online and strap it back into my life ASAP. Then an idea hit me. I decided to try an experiment. I’d go one week without it.
I wrote about the first week HERE.
My daughter sent me an article this morning called “Beware That Nocebo Strapped to Your Wrist” by Tim Culpan from Bloomberg.com. It’s premise is this: “Fitness gadgets are supposed to improve your health, but often end up making you feel worse.”
Here’s an excerpt:
Most people are familiar with the concept of a placebo, where merely providing positive information can improve perception of well-being. Yet the opposite also occurs, with negative data making people feel worse about their own health.
That’s a nocebo — Latin for “I shall harm” as opposed to “I shall please” for placebo. And there’s a good chance you have a nocebo strapped to your wrist.
A wave of health-tech gadgets — from fitness trackers to Apple Inc.’s Watch — means hundreds of millions of people are hooked up to real-time feedback devices. They’re designed to measure your steps, encourage you to exercise more, and give daily updates on your mental and physical health. Apple wants you to “close your rings” — the three colorful circles the Watch uses to monitor your progress — and Garmin Ltd. helpfully tells you when your health is “excellent.”
They make for popular gifts and are bound to be stocking-stuffers this year. Various models of the Apple Watch occupied four of the top 10 most popular items in November’s Black Friday sales, according to Business Insider.
But there’s also good reason to think twice about whether you, or a loved one, will truly benefit from 24-7 monitoring, arbitrary goals served up by an algorithm, and regular notifications telling you that you’re stressed, tired, fit, or simply “unproductive.”
In fact, research on the nocebo effect — first conceptualized in 1961 — has shown that perceptions of pain can increase with shifts in information and detail. Patients with suspected concussions have shown poorer neurocognitive performance when their history of traumatic injury is called to attention. Concentration falters when unpleasant data is provided. Sometimes, even a change in the color of a specific signal associated with health can trigger discomfort.https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2021-12-15/wrist-size-fitness-gadgets-make-for-great-gifts-but-beware-of-the-nocebo-effect
It’s been a little less than four months since the nocebo left my wrist. I no longer wake up to immediately check my fitbit. I’d check to see if I had a good night’s sleep or not. If it told me I had a bad night’s sleep, it changed my outlook for the entire day. I felt tired, cranky, and I didn’t know how I’d get through the day. Say good-bye to getting into my creative space. I was becoming a slave to the nocebo.
I haven’t replaced it. I don’t need it. I know if I’ve gotten enough steps from years of walking 10,000 steps or more each day. I know if I had a good night’s sleep or not. AND as for swimming laps, I count higher than the number of laps I can swim. It’s not too much to keep track of laps in my head. Maybe even good for the old brain power.
What type of device do use to keep track of your health, steps and sleep? Or do you use one at all? I hear people say the Apple Watch has all sorts of other benefits, but I can’t figure out if I need another device to alert me about calls, texts, and emails with a laptop and cellphone at my side? What are your thoughts? What are the benefits that you like the most?
I cannot imagine under which scenario that (a) I would give two shits about how many steps I took, and (b) why I would let an electronic device to tell me what I already know? The only things I ever strapped to my arm were Army things, and many of them were designed o remind someone else how fragile there health was in my presence.
I like how honest and candid you are.
If only a little could rub off onto our politicians. I do have an advantage. I am retired with all the friends I need, so I have no restraints. I am very confident in my direction, and will gladly point out when someone else isn’t.
I love my Fitbit but I’m a numbers geek. I just think it’s interesting. That being said, when my free prime Fitbit subscription is done I’m not paying for the privilege. I like tracking my steps and heart rate. Figure the heart rate can only help my doctors looking at my overall health. My daughter loves for Apple Watch, mainly for paying and she uses it at her dorm to get into buildings.
I think using the Apple Watch to swipe into buildings on campus is a huge plus as a safety factor.
Completely. Best reason for an apple watch
My son just got one and he suggested I could use one too. I said there were a lot of things on it that I would never use. I’m perfectly happy with my phone counting my steps for me and my free Keto app.