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It has never been easier to track your health and fitness activities. But does playing the data game help or hinder your physical and mental health? MF investigates

What ever exercise you enjoy, the chances are your workouts now involve lifting heavy data, running through energy equations, and cycling around facts and figures. Thanks to a boom in fitness trackers, smartwatches, heart rate monitors and fitness apps, training has fused with technology to spark a data-drenched fitness revolution.

A 2018 review in the Journal Of Medical Internet Research identified over 400 unique trackers from brands such as Fitbit, Polar, Garmin, Wahoo, Apple and Samsung. The global market for wearable trackers is valued at $17.8 billion (around £13.7 billion) and is expected to grow to $62.1 billion (£47.7 billion) by 2023. Around two million trackers are sold in the UK alone every year, while survey data suggests one in three Brits now believe gadgets can help them achieve their fitness goals.

This tracking technology ranges from simple step counters and heart rate monitors to sleep trackers and posture trainers, as well as advanced GPS-powered running, cycling and swimming devices that monitor stats such as power output, cadence and ground contact time. Wearable trackers promise seamless data capture, live feedback and hassle-free analysis.

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