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Ceredigion pilot project showcases use of wearable tech

Digital Communities Wales has worked with Ceredigion County Council on a pilot project that illustrates the growing use and popularity of wearable technology. In this case, it’s the Fitbit that’s taken centre stage.

We worked with the local authority’s Health Improvement Team, within Lifestyle Services, as it was looking to help more people to become active. This would help the Council to build on work it’s already done with the National Exercise Referral Scheme (NERS).

The team wanted to find a way to support people who might lack confidence with exercise and technology, so it was felt that providing a group of service users with Fitbits would help overcome this. Digital Communities Wales loaned a number of Fitbits to Lifestyle Services, so the council team could see whether the devices would encourage people to adopt a healthier lifestyle.

The pilot project was designed to support activity that could be measured over a six week period. My Health Online was among the online tools used to support the project with measuring a participant’s progress.

Naomi McDonagh, Environmental Health Officer for Health Improvement said “The Fitbits have been very well received and are having a real positive effect on those individuals who have participated”.

A NERS instructor also stated that “From an instructor’s point of view, I would highly recommend the Fitbit to any of our participants. I believe it gives them a good idea of how active they are and encourages them to do more. I also think that the device is easy to use and relatively straight forward even for someone who is not technically minded”.

We also spoke to two of the pilot project’s participants, who said “I have thoroughly enjoyed using the Fitbit. I’m still getting to grips with all of the things on there, but really enjoying seeing how many steps I do a day and my sleep quality. The Fitbit has definitely made me more aware of the amount of activity I do; and also, how much you do even when pottering around the house doing housework”.

“I love the Fitbit…it makes me work harder in the gym, as I look after doing each exercise at how high my heart rate is. The Fitbit has definitely helped to motivate me to do more in sessions, as the numbers go higher when I do and it’s a good incentive to work harder and faster. I try to do between 3000 and 5000 steps every day”.