self-tracking, fitness, social networking, physical fitness, exercise
The high numbers of adults who do not engage in enough physical activity or who are completely sedentary, are at higher risk than others for health illnesses and complications. However, many individuals are taking initiative and control of their health and well-being as a result of the copious amount of information available on the internet and major technological advancements. Individuals are self-tracking their health with wearable technology such as Fitbit, Nike, Garmin, and Jawbone among many others which can track steps/distance, steps climbed, heart rate, caloric burn, and sleep. In the last decade, these technologies have become very popular and are being used by a large number of the population. They also permit interaction with additional apps or websites, such as MyFitnessPal, by linking them together in order to self-track while forming fitness social networks. It is evident that these apps, devices, and websites offer an overwhelming amount of resources to its users to aid them.
Users not only can track their physical activity, but can form fitness social networks through the apps and websites. Th is enables users to interact with others to give or receive comments, likes, applauds, or cheers as well as seek advice and guidance from others. Users can join specific groups based on their physical activities or fitness concerns, creating a social network of people with similarities. What are the best, most effective resources offered by these apps, websites, and devices? How can engagement with a social network of people on fitness apps and websites increase physical activity? What resources in these networks best enhance motivation, confidence, and achievement of one’s fitness goals? Through conducting a literature review of the research and surveying users who already engage in these apps, websites, and devices, we can better understand the benefits and preferences of these resources. Only by further recognizing the most efficient aspects of self-tracking devices and online fitness social networks, can we work to improve them and motivate and engage individuals in necessary physical activity to enhance their health.