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Readers' reaction: Fitness trackers -- motivation or pure distraction?

Love them, hate them, or some where in between, CNET Facebook fans tell us what they think of fitness tracking devices.

Wrist-worn wearable fitness trackers including the Fitbit Flex (left), Samsung Gear Fit (center), and Nike FuelBand. Sarah Tew / CNET

Do you own a fitness tracker, or as one CNET reader puts it, a "glorified pedometer"? You know -- one of those wearable devices that (when accompanied by an app) can electronically track your activities like steps taken, exercise, food intake and body weight, and can monitor your sleep. Some fancier ones even have heart rate monitors built right in. There's even one that has the ability to track your bowel movements! OK, I'm just kidding on the last, but heck -- with so much tracking going on these days, I wouldn't be surprised if one day some manufacturer did include it.

I've been wearing one of these devices for over two years. My wife wears one also, and so do many of our friends. While these devices aren't going to make me healthier or skinner (just look at my picture -- I'm still fat), it does give me feedback as to how many approximate steps I've walked in day, how much physical activity I've done, and if I'm not close to hitting my personal set goals of physical activity near the end of the day, it motivates me to do a little more to hit that goal. My wife has been using hers for over three years, and she uses all the bells and whistles to track all her fitness progress. She even has her device and app connected to all her friends and co-workers, and every week they challenge each other with new tasks to motivate one another for a healthier life style. For example, one week it will be the 20,000 step challenge, the next week it was the "no processed food" week. My wife and I love our little fitness trackers. While I know these devices aren't for everyone, I feel like for me and my wife, every little nudge to motivate us to be more active helps, and that can't be a bad thing, right?

Now on the other side of the spectrum, my colleague Donald Bell says fitness trackers don't make him healthy, they make him neurotic. He says that manufactures like Fitbit, Google, Apple, Samsung, Jawbone, and so on made these devices to exploit our insecurities with overpriced bracelets/devices that collect mostly pointless information. And if you really want to get in shape, he suggests you hit the gym or go for a walk. Now I want you to watch Donald's video below as he lays his feelings about fitness trackers on the line:

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After some CNET's Facebook fans watched Donald's video on fitness trackers, this is how they reacted:

CNET Facebook fan Dennis H. said:

"I personally don't get the current fitness trackers. They are all just glorified pedometers that just happen to also monitor sleep. That's all they do. All of them. I am personally looking forward to the Atlas fitness tracker coming in 2015. It actually tracks everything that all the current trackers do, plus reps and sets of all your exercises. It can also tell if you cheat and if you have good form or not. Much more useful for actual fitness and not just cardio bunnies."

CNET Facebook fan Betty H. said:

"I used to poke fun at friends and co-workers that wore these devices. Then I retired and found that I was sitting around too much. I swallowed my pride and bought a Fitbit and set it for 10,00 steps. It gently nags me when I am not moving enough, and having bought the darn thing I must justify the purchase by getting up and walking, exercising until I hit the goal."

CNET Facebook fan Margaret S. said:

"I love my Fitbit. It has helped me stay motivated to walk daily (at least 10,000 steps). I don't use the sleep pattern function. I think anything that helps me stay motivated to eat right and exercise is good. If I were 20 years old maybe not but at my age, and working full time it really helps. It doesn't "tell me what to do." And it has gotten my butt outside to walk -- both myself and my dog -- how can that be bad?"

CNET Facebook fan Lorijane F. said:

"He is so right! We were fine before technology! We don't need to see how well we sleep or anything else. You want to be in better shape mentally and physically? Move your body without something telling you to!"

Now that you've got a chance to watch Donald Bell's video and read some CNET fan reactions to his opinion on fitness trackers, it's your turn to tell us what you think of these devices. Do you own one yourself? If you do, has it helped you with your fitness or motivated you to be healthier or more active? Or are you in agreement with Donald that these devices are just overpriced gadgets playing on our insecurities so manufacturers can make a profit? Love them, hate them, or being some where in between, voice your opinions on fitness tracking devices. We are all ears.