Fitness trackers aren’t just for young people

Peter Terlato 24 January 2017

elderly ageing fitness tracker device

Elderly exercisers are increasingly using smartphone fitness apps and bands.

Baby boomers and seniors have become a dominant force within Australia's fitness tech marketplace, according to new research which outlines their propensity for walking and regular exercise.

Advertisers would have you believe young people are the target market for fitness trackers, such as smartphone apps and wrist band devices, but this isn't necessarily the case.

A recent Pureprofile survey of more than 1,000 Aussies found adults over 60 who walk for exercise (67%) account for the greatest number of fitness device users.

The elderly use these devices an average three times per week to monitor their steps and distances.

Many Australians admit to using them as a way to motivate themselves to exercise or eat healthy.

"The idea that new wearable technology scares older people and that the devices are only worn by the young and healthy is not true," Pureprofile research consultant Kym Penhall said.

"If you look at ads for these devices, they focus on young fit people undertaking strenuous activities. They don’t acknowledge the concept of walking as an exercise to maintain a moderate level of fitness."

Walking was far and away the most popular activity among Aussie's using fitness trackers, with more than half (53%) declaring it as their primary fitness activity.

This was true of most adults, including those aged 19-49 (46%) and 50-59 (58%).

Visiting the gym (17%) was also favourable, while running (9%) and swimming (5%) were less common.

Most Aussies who walk for exercise can see the benefits of using smart phone fitness devices (57%), while a similar proportion see the advantages of wearing wrist devices (56%).

More than a third do not currently use any fitness devices but said they would consider it in the future.

Despite these positives, for most people, fitness trackers are a fad and smartwatches are an irrelevance.

For the most comprehensive comparisons of fitness tracking devices, check out our reviews of the Fitbit Blaze, Fitbit Charge 2, Samsung Gear Fit 2, Apple Watch Series 2, Apple Watch Sport and Polar M600.

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