Understanding health benefits of fitness trackers during the COVID-19 Lockdown

Preprint 2021

Yuliang Chen and Youngjun Cho
Department of Computer Science, University College London, London, UK

Fitness trackers have gained much attention as daily physiological computing intervention to promote self-monitoring and self-regulation. This paper investigates the usage patterns and perceived health benefits of commercial fitness trackers before and during the COVID-19. From our online survey and follow-up interview studies, we report on positive relationships between usage frequency and perceived health benefits along with the lockdown state. Furthermore, the results show users tend to get more motivated by wearing trackers to engage in physical activities and increase exercise intensity during the lockdown in comparison with pre-lockdown periods. We conclude by discussing their broader potential benefits for both mental and physical wellbeing.
This work builds on our previous projects [1-5].


[1] Cho, Y., 2021. Rethinking Eye-blink: Assessing Task Difficulty through Physiological Representation of Spontaneous Blinking. In Proceedings of the 2021 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, pp. 1-12.

[2] Cho, Y., Julier, S.J., Marquardt, N. and Bianchi-Berthouze, N., 2017. Robust tracking of respiratory rate in high-dynamic range scenes using mobile thermal imaging. Biomedical optics express8(10), pp.4480-4503.

[3] Cho, Y., Bianchi-Berthouze, N. and Julier, S.J., 2017. DeepBreath: Deep learning of breathing patterns for automatic stress recognition using low-cost thermal imaging in unconstrained settings. In 2017 Seventh International Conference on Affective Computing and Intelligent Interaction (ACII) (pp. 456-463).

[4] Cho, Y., Julier, S.J. and Bianchi-Berthouze, N., 2019. Instant stress: detection of perceived mental stress through smartphone photoplethysmography and thermal imaging. JMIR mental health6(4), p.e10140.

[5] Cho, Y., Kim, S. and Joung, M., 2017. Proximity sensor and control method thereof. U.S. Patent 9,703,368.