Fitness technology has become more popular during the pandemic as it has encouraged many people to walk or run more to keep fit

A Dublin doctor has warned that fitness trackers can increase anxiety among some people if they interpret the numbers incorrectly.
Dr Dermot McCaffrey, consultant cardiologist at the Beacon Hospital says that trackers such as Fitbits can lead to unnecessary trips to the doctor.
He said that people attend their clinics because of the numbers directed back to them from their wrist.
Fitness trackers can be useful in general, but Dr McCaffery warned that people need to be aware of the limitations.
Fitness technology has become more popular in recent years, and the pandemic has encouraged many people to walk or run more to keep fit.
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He told Newstalk: (People are) becoming heart aware – which is a good thing.
But people are seeing numbers directed back to them from their wrist, and how its theyre interpreting them.
Were seeing people coming in – either referred by a GP or self-referring into our rapid access clinic, saying they were just sitting there watching TV and the tracker showed their heart rate go up to 120.
Trackers I think are useful, theyre encouraging people to exercise, and do a certain amount of steps per day.
“But in a certain group of people who may have some anxiety, they may interpret those numbers incorrectly.”
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He said people becoming anxious can cause their heart rate to increase.
There are occasional times trackers will pick up issues but unusual data may not be a cause for concern.
Dr McCaffery explained: If it keeps happening, then yes attend your GP, there may be an explanation for it.
It can pick up things like thyroid disease, which makes your heart go fast.
But for every average heart rate of 70, somebodys normal heart rate is 50 and somebodys heart rate is 90.”
People may feel judged if they feel pressure to share their steps data.
Dr McCaffrey says that this can lead to people actually feeling less well about themselves.
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He said: Im an advocate of a thing called fat and fit – thats not worrying about if youre fat, but instead just getting out and walking.
“Eventually, after six months of walking, you will be less fat but youll be fit, not concentrating so much on weight, but more about getting out walking.”
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