Fitbit anxiety : Does anyone find that... - British Heart Fou...

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Fitbit anxiety


Does anyone find that their Fitbit causes more anxiety and palpitations, I’m constantly checking it

41 Replies

Take it off and dont wear it until you get out of the habit of checking it.

If you are prone to anxiety and/or health anxiety, a Fitbit or similar is not your friend, it’s part of the problem. It won’t help you with your anxiety or managing it, simply add to the worry and compulsive thoughts. There’s been research in to it, particularly since the pandemic started and the surge in fitness related purchases, and a google of fitness trackers and anxiety will bring up lots of reports and articles confirming the link between anxiety and devices like fitbits. The other thing that’s worth bearing in mind is that most if not all fitness trackers worn on the wrist have been found to be inaccurate for monitoring hr, anyway, some of them out by as much as 20% or so.

Sometimes I wear mine only at night to find out what my sleep patterns are. It’s helped a lot.

If like me when I first had a Fitbit then it becomes a novelty and I was constantly checking. Now 3 years on I wear it like a watch and use it as such with odd checks on stats etc. The weekly stats are good. I like to compare when I have medical etc and often find I am quite synchronised with readings which is good.

I've got a Fitbit primarily to record activity levels, thought I had to turn off the function that kept telling me to move more! and find it quite interesting to see sleep patterns. I have a look at the previous nights sleep over my first cuppa of the day - after that I don't look at the app on my phone for the rest of the day. If you suffer for health anxiety any type of device like this will not help that anxiety. As Charlie_G says they're not that accurate for monitoring heart rate so inaccurate reading won't help health anxiety.

I've got a Polar watch which keeps telling me to "MOVE!". I usually REmove the watch :)

FM68 in reply to Alison_L


I was given one of the infernal devices for Xmas by my daughter, by the way I hate techi little gadgets!I don't find it causes any kind of anxiety just annoyance as it bleeps and throbs away. I use the step counter in the main, however it is a joke as it has been proven to be so wildly inaccurate! My reason being that if I scratch my back with my left hand, it registers these movements as steps.

Mine might just be getting dumped in the waste bin, but anxiety, no, just annoyance!

mike2002 in reply to Buzzy-Beans

That’s a good way of cheating though 😊

Janma123 in reply to mike2002

My niece is a chef and her Fitbit clicked up huge numbers of steps when she was chopping veg and the like - Fitbit was on he ‘knife hand’!

mike2002 in reply to Janma123

It was suggested that I get one but really the step counter I wear is good enough for me. It is accurate too.Why anybody needs to see an ECG on a watch is beyond me. When I had my heart attack my ECG was said to be ‘normal’ - so what does it prove?

Alison_L in reply to Janma123

Mine shows high numbers of steps when I'm driving - apparently turning the steering wheel and changing gear (which on London roads is a lot!) count as steps :)

Buzzy-Beans in reply to mike2002

As no doubt quite a few people do, at times I walk with my hands behind my back or even in my pockets rather than swinging back and forth like when marching. The stupid thing that these little bits of techi rubbish are record totally different numbers of steps depending on what your arms are doing, oh and then when on my bikes turbo trainer when I can be clocking up the equivalent of 50 or more miles next to no steps are recorded or calorie numbers........ The days between now and the waste bin for this heap of rubbish are very seariously numbered indeed!!

Am I the only fitbit user that wears it on my ankle?

Why does one need to know how many hours of sleep one has had. My daughter has one of these watches and she often will come and tell me she only slept for 4/5 hours - and ? I know if I have slept well or not, I don't need a watch to tell me.

mike2002 in reply to unbusy

Very good point. Some people seem to need technology to tell them everything these days. Common sense went out the window!

unbusy in reply to mike2002

Hi mike2002.Well technology is amazing - I love my smartphone and it does everything I need. I too weigh myself at the moment as I am determined to get a few kilos off to help my blood pressure. I am monitoring my BP and I record the results on my phone calendar. The app counts how many steps I have done, and the timer is set to do a manual radial pulse over 1 minute as I have a wildly irregular heartbeat. If I want to know if my pulse is irregular I feel it. If I need a reminder I ask my phone to remind me! Simples.

mike2002 in reply to unbusy

I wouldn’t be without my smartphone either but when it comes to ECG’s I’ll let the hospital do it and interpret it. Call me old fashioned if you like ......😀

I wouldn't be without my fitbit. Had one for several years. I only check the dashboard once a day. I find it encourages me to do better. I'm well aware any of these items are not completely accurate. However, as long as you are using the same one you can easily see any improvements in your activity etc. I don't think it's anything to worry about. Just make sure you are wearing it properly and only check once a day.

Fitness watches do have their advantages for medical reasons ie they can remind you to exercise (if you’ve been static for a while), track via GPS your exercise showing it on a map (giving length, time etc - maybe to look on with pleasure later), give exercise tips with examples or take you through breathing exercises etc which help you to relax and, even if they might not be exact for things like Pulse rate etc they can help you see if you’ve any trends in certain things that they record ie resting Pulse rate etc. So, I agree they might cause anxiety if looking at something in isolation at one moment, but they still have their uses for some folk in our position. On my Fitbit app, as well as my Versa watch 3 recordings, I also log my daily weight (which has helped me to lose 7 lbs since Dec to get my BMI to a good level) plus daily calorie & water intake which helps with my overall body health.

I constantly checked mine drove myself mad I took mine off a couple weeks ago and binned it. It was driving me nuts, constantly checking it, in competition with my daughter in law and if at anytime she went above my steps I’d have to beat her even at 11 pm. Then in morning first thing to do was check my sleep and if I’d only had 4/5 hrs I told myself I’d be tired (so I was) if I woke up in the night I’d check and if I’d only slept couple hrs I knew I needed more sleep, (then couldn’t) . My Fitbit made me very anxious even out walking cause I’d have to go further everyday no matter how I felt, I was obsessed with it. Since getting rid I now rely on my mind and how I feel. Im more relaxed now and enjoying my walks more without checking a fitbit. I’m taking things at my pace and not the fitbit if I want to speed up I do, if I want to take a leisurely stroll well that’s ok to and my sleep has improved since not checking my hrs of sleep and the sleep pattern, driving myself mad lol I just go by how I feel now and you know what my health has improved since listening to my body and not a fitbit. My doctor actually told me to bin it a while back but I didn’t listen at the time. I actually made myself ill before I got rid ,it’s the best thing I done. We’re all different, I know people that love them and it’s helped them but not me, not for me and my anxiety

Yes have one most of the time wrong reading ..yes sooo frustrating..

I have used fitbit whilst exercising on bike turbo (device fits to rear wheel to enable static indoor riding).. The HR levels from FB sometimes rocket 180 +... meanwhile my chest band HR monitor states approx 110 or so, I even matched up 2 HR monitors to 1 chest band which were the same, but fitbit miles out.They are good for some stuff but HR is not accurate.

Bladerunner777 in reply to pjw17

Exactly, pjw17! I copied one of my Fitbit exercise charts where my hr had spiked to 150 and showed it to my cardiologist. He said the algorithm they use gets "confused" sometimes and is "projecting" your hr spike even though it's not happening. definite programming flaw.

jackwex in reply to pjw17

I've a fitbit, at the start of the month had the 24hr holter monitor and it registered the same as my fitbit

Yup,my wife purchased Apple Watch post op heart surgery and I was flapping all the time checking pulse ecg oxygen levels etc and any time a bad reading came up i panicked,like a literal panic attack!now I use mainly as a watch to tell time,and use activity app to monitor distances walked,they have there uses but definitely get seen by the pros and don’t immediately panic with so called bad reading.gary(37)post operation aeortal heart valve.

I have an Apple Watch and Im the same. Continuously checking my pulse, ECG,... every time it shows as high or atrial fibrillation I panic and end up having a panic attack. So, unfortunately not good for ppl with anxiety. Crazy..😞

Yes, my normal pulse is 50 but Fitbit would show it suddenly shoot up to 90 and get stuck there for minutes, by taking my pulse the old fashioned way it was not 90. I gave my Fitbit away and use phone as activity tracker now. I get ectopic beats so probably confusing the Fitbit.

Stumpy47 in reply to MEW123

Works the other way too a skipped/early PVC can be falsely interpreted as a VERY low heart rate too, even with a PM set at 55bpm base rate. I pay very little attention to them my smart watch now!

After ending up in A & E my dr told me to put my watch in the bin! In the early days after being diagnosed with my condition I would have been checking my heart rate sitting, standing and moving regularly! Mine showed my heart rate had jumped during a gentle walk. I didn’t feel that it was racing but the minute I “thought” it was, the panic set in. Unfortunately a panic attack gives all the symptoms of something wrong with my heart! A trip to A & E showed all was well but was v scary! Now I listen to my body and not my watch

I sold mine it made me anxious

I started wearing my Fitbit to monitor my sleep pattern but then noticed my heart beat per minute was low. I then checked my pulse and the two didn’t match, I think we have to be careful because Fitbits are not 100% accurate.

Oh yes I’m obsessed 😱

I too suffer from health anxiety but I did before I had a Fitbit. It's not the watch that's the problem in my case it's the anxiety. With regards to accuracy of HR readings on my Fitbit Charge 4 I found it to be spot on when I checked my FB reading with the hospital monitors so I guess its safe for me to use as a guide only. The most accurate measure when exercising is how you feel when engaging in any activity.

Good luck with the anxiety issues CBT helped me.

I did after first being diagnosed, now no, I just use it as a guide.

Throw it in the bin, one thing less to worry about!

Yes I did, stop wearing it! It becomes addictive in a very bad way. Definitely increases anxiety. I do wear mine again now but rarely look at it

Initially I felt I needed a Fitbit after having a heart attack. As it was a direct monitor which might tell me something is wrong ! However I soon learned it was just the opposite and I was checking every 5 minutes ! Try leaving it off and just checking once a day at first then wean yourself of it ! Good luck

Hi Peppa,If you are like some of us, with heart problems? You might be doing yourself a favor by not using a Fitbit. After heart surgery I was using different technologies to stay ahead of more heart troubles, but after having a long discussion with a heart surgeon about the use of a Fitbit and other things with similar technology. He said that the Fitbit is a tool to offer basic health conditions and it can't be customized to your perticular or personal health conditions.

His opinion was that the Fitbit is only 30% accurate at best. His suggestion to me was to avoid anything that causes anxiety and embrace whatever causes me relaxation. I took his suggestions seriously and have felt much better since.

I'm not saying this will work for you, but you might find some part of this helpful?

Good Luck!

Stay Strong,


I bought one to encourage me to raise my step count and be more active, and it has been very effective at doing just that. But - I wear it on my ankle so I can't look at it, it acts as a record and general motivation device (eg planning a longer walk today than usual) and I don't rely on it as an accurate HR monitor. That said, it monitors trends very well and I have variable arrythmias, in an out of AF and I can easily see the record (from the baseline or avg hr) of when how often and how long the AF has lasted, useful information for my cardiology reviews. Also, it showed a dramatic change last year which coincided with hot weather last august but was really useful in convincing people that my dizzy spells weren't "just the heat" and resulted in a hospital admission for pacemaker, probably a lifesaver (see pic). I think information is a valuable currency when trying to sort out my heart, so fitbit works for me but I agree, you have to limit how you use it so that it supports you to run your life, and doesn't dominate it.


I have a Fitbit. It is no more than an expensive toy. I refer to it as a toy when I contact them for any reason and nobody on their side has disagreed!

I am 77 years old and have angina but I am reasonably fit using an exercise bike and walking as main exercises. The heart rate monitor bit of the machine is dreadful and originally it caused me serious grief when reporting heart rates of 170+ etc

Initially I panicked, told them that this was ridiculous given my age and heart condition. The reply given was facile and laughable as they told me it needed to be loosened on my wrist. They expressed no concern at all about the HR results confirming to me that it is nothing but an expensive toy!

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