TRACKING WELL: Participants in a USQ wearable technology study Margrit Rettke (left) and Rose McGuire (right) with facilitator Dr Ann Morrison from USQ's Digital Life Lab.
TRACKING WELL: Participants in a USQ wearable technology study Margrit Rettke (left) and Rose McGuire (right) with facilitator Dr Ann Morrison from USQ's Digital Life Lab. Array

Active ageing: Research discovers Fitbit tracks friendship

PARTICIPANTS didn't realise when they signed up just how much a USQ research study into wearable trackers would influence their lives.

The small group of over-50s was involved in Dr Ann Morrison's investigation into older-adult acceptance and use of the technology.

The plan was for participants to meet weekly over three months of wearing the devices and share their experiences.

But when the project was over, they just kept meeting.

"The results gave us an insight into how technology, in this case a Garmin VivoSmart tracker, assisted older adults to maintain their independence, feel safe in their mobility activities and keep active in their usual social networks or invigorate new ones," Dr Morrison said.

She said the power of social connection over a shared subject was a key observation of the research, and it was found that social inclusion proved "a significant factor for self-esteem and quality of life".

Rose McGuire was part of the study and, with fellow participant Margrit Rettke, still catches up with Dr Morrison each month, and still wears her Fitbit to track her daily steps and sleep.

"I found the data very interesting," she said, adding it had made her put more effort into exercise. "There is always a lot to do but we try to make it a priority; it has become a habit that I hope I can maintain forever." 


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