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Could 'Unfitness' Trackers Guilt You Into Exercise?

There aren't enough fitness trackers out there to make you feel guilty. At least that's what a recent study seems to imply.

Photo: Shutterstock

Photo: Shutterstock

There's a massive market for devices and apps that detect and track steps, running, weight training, swimming and even yoga. But more should automatically measure time spent on the couch, at as desk or otherwise sedentary, according to research published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research.

Sitting for long stretches at a time for much of the day is linked to a greater risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes, heart disease and and cancer, Loughborough University researcher James Sanders reminds us.

In theory, by monitoring time spent sedentary, users of "unfitness" trackers can be motivated to get moving throughout the day. Yet of the 82 fitness trackers that Sanders and his team tested, only nine self-monitored sedentary time, including the Lumo Back, activPAL VT and Darma, Sanders wrote.

MORE: Best Fitness Trackers - Track Activity, Calories & Sleep

"The wearable tech sector must now fill this identified gap in the market so people can have a comfortable and easy-to-wear device that helps nudge them throughout the day to spend less time sitting," Sanders says, according to a report in Science Daily.

But as the old saying goes, you catch more flies with honey than vinegar.

We tested out the latest Fitbit devices, the Charge 2 and Flex 2, and one feature on the device is the ability to set it to give you reminders to get up and move. On the Charge 2, users are motivated to get moving with encouraging hourly alerts like "Let's roll."

So maybe it's better to encourage people to be active rather than make them feel bad about not being active enough.