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01 May 2017

Why a Fitbit Harms Health More than it Helps Fitness Goals

Exposure to EMF radiation and heavy metals...

Why a Fitbit Harms Health More than it Helps Fitness Goals

by Sarah, thehealthyhomeeconomist.com, 26 February 2017

A Fitbit is a type of electronic device used for personal activity tracking. These wireless-enabled, wearable devices measure data such as the number of steps walked, quality of sleep, and other personal metrics.

The Fitbit was developed by the company of the same name founded and managed by James Park and Eric Friedman.

Since then, a proliferation of various styles and models have taken the workout world by storm with Fitbits and similar knock off devices crafted for every personality and need.

The very simple Fitbit Zip, which is about the size of a quarter, tracks only steps taken, distance traveled, and calories burned. The sophisticated Fitbit Flex, which is worn 24 hours a day even while showering and swimming, tracks all its wearer’s movement including sleep patterns.

There are Fitbit apps for the iPhone and Android too which allow fans to log their food, activities, water intake, and weight, as well as track their fitness goals throughout the day even while offline.
While the Fitbit and devices like them may seem like a very helpful tool to keep people motivated and moving toward exercise goals, I don’t personally use one nor do I recommend them to folks that ask me about them. Here are my reasons.

Exercise is About Relaxation, Movement and Stress Reduction

For me, exercise is primarily about movement, relaxation and stress reduction. It frees the mind from the cares of the day for a short period of time.

Adding a lot of data and personal activity tracking to the mix is decidedly un-relaxing to me. I don’t want my every breath, step and heartbeat chronicled, tracked and categorized as I go through my workout whether it be a leisurely stroll around the neighborhood or a high intensity rebounding session on our outdoor trampoline.

Tracking my steps around the house as I do laundry, cook and wash dishes seems very over the top and rather invasive too. Can’t we just enjoy our exercise and daily activities without having to micromanage and examine every aspect about them under a microscope?

Exercise is not primarily about weight loss either at least to me. It’s about getting the blood pumping to facilitate the body’s detoxification mechanisms and to build and maintain muscle, fitness and balance. Simple burning of calories may help you lose weight but this alone never got anyone healthy, so why bother tracking exercise at such an elementary, two dimensional level?

While some may find Fitbits helpful to the exercise process, to me, they detract from the psychological benefits of exercise enjoyment by micromanaging what should be experienced in an expansive manner.

Fitbit: Unnecessary Exposure to EMF Radiation

There are now pictures available that show actual wireless radiation surrounding a person using a wireless enabled device. You can see photographer Luis Hernan’s incredible photos here.

While it is basically impossible to get away from the constant bathing of the body in wireless radiation while at work or in a public place, exercise particularly in the outdoors offers a prime opportunity for rest and release from the onslaught of electromagnetic fields (EMF) for a brief period of time.

It makes no sense, at least to me, to be hooked up to a device like a Fitbit that emits any sort of EMF radiation while exercising which is already putting the body under physical stress from sweating and detoxification.

Fitbits that people wear while sleeping seem most dangerous of all. There is absolutely no data proving the safety of these devices during sleep even though the user manuals claim that “This equipment complies with FCC radiation exposure limits set forth for an uncontrolled environment.”

Quality sleep is very important for maintaining a healthy weight. Research has shown that poor quality sleep causes weight problems. Even just a few nights of poor sleep can lead to almost immediate weight gain.

Are Fitbit nighttime wearers inadvertently undoing their daytime efforts to lose weight?

In fact, sleep and good health are so inextricably linked that many holistic medical practitioners recommend turning all wireless sources off at night with some going so far as to recommend flipping the entire house breaker until morning! The reason? The EMF radiation swirling around you may negatively affect sleep in a very profound way over the long term.

I’ve written before about how wireless baby monitors aren’t a good idea for sleeping baby. Fitbits worn during sleep transmitting data via wireless are a bad idea for similar reasons.

According to PowerWatch, a wireless baby monitor at less than 1 meter away from the baby’s crib was roughly equivalent to the microwave radiation experienced from a cell phone tower only 150 meters away. How much worse would a wireless enabled Fitbit be that is worn on your physical person as you exercise or sleep?

Interestingly, if you have dental amalgams (silver fillings) or titanium implants, this may make the wireless radiation from constantly wearing a digital Fitbit type device even more problematic. According to Lina Garcia, DDS, DMD:

“When considering the numerous reasons for the increasing prevalence of chronic illness in our society, I think that we should not overlook the possibility that metal-containing dental work, especially titanium implants, could be acting like antennas for the microwave [which includes wireless] transmissions going on between our cell phones and all of the cell phone towers in our 21st century environment.

… it is important to be aware that metal dental restorations and implants have already been shown to cause galvanic and electromagnetic stress for the human body. Galvanic and electromagnetic stress occurs when an unnatural electric current is generated by metal ions interacting with the electrolyte-rich fluid known as saliva.

If you doubt that you are surrounded by very strong wireless radiation while wearing a wireless enabled device be it a cell phone or a Fitbit, you can now download an app that will give you a colorful visual on those waves invisibly surrounding you with blue indicating the strongest wireless radiation down to red which indicates the weakest signal.

Heavy Metal Exposure from a Fitbit?

In March 2014, the Consumer Product Safety Commission officially recalled the Fitbit Force due to injuries to an estimated 9,900 people. These customers suffered from skin irritations such as blisters, rashes, and peeling skin after continual wearing of the Fitbit Force for a period of time. Fitbit stated that after consulting with medical professionals, the general assessment is that the skin problems were likely allergic reactions to nickel, a alloy in the stainless steel or adhesives used to assemble the Fitbit Force.

While it is well known that ingesting heavy metals like nickel can cause health problems, what is less well known is that the skin can absorb heavy metals too. Cooking acidic foods in stainless steel is known to leech alloys like nickel into the food, but could stainless steel placed on the skin which is normally acidic at a pH of 4.5-5.5 leech metals too? Even minute amounts of heavy metals in the body can have negative health consequences so this is far from a trivial concern.

Until there is more research and definitive answers to this question, it seems prudent to be wary of products like the Fitbit Force that expose the skin to heavy metals for extended periods of time.

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