Fitness trackers are gaining popularity and can be seen on almost every wrist. Though, they are getting popular for the right reasons, are those readings accurate? Yes, these fitness bands or workout trackers are popular for their smart look and activity tracking mechanism. Here we will discuss the accuracy of these workout trackers.
We are not targetting any individual brand and would also ask you to pick your fitness bands based on relevant information.
You can now find a plethora of them floating in the market and everyone is competing over quality and accuracy. Also, the busy lifestyle makes it challenging for many of us to dedicate time to overall physical and mental health. So, fitness bands come to the rescue. These bands help in monitoring our activities and thus, motivate us to stay healthy. So, let’s dive deeper into the topic to discuss various tracking measures and their accuracy.
How accurate is your fitness tracker?
- Calorie tracking: Almost everyone is obsessed with this feature as it can help us reach our fitness goals faster. We often hear that one should try to burn at least 500 – 1000 calories a day to lose half a kg a week. So, calorie trackers can help you calculate calories. But, are those figures on your fitness band accurate? The amount of calories a person burns depends on various factors like age, weight, heart rate, the intensity of the workout, etc. Also, the accuracy is less when only the moment of the body is taken into consideration (ignoring the heart rate). So, the energy expenditure is not accurate most of the time, especially during anaerobic workouts like weight lifting, HIIT, yoga, and pilates, to name a few. So, the calorie count you see on your exercise trackers isn’t much reliable.
- Step Counting: Don’t expect 100 percent accuracy here as well. Your fitness band might track your step count well during a walk, whereas it could misinterpret arm movements as steps. So, your step count varies a lot due to different activities throughout the day. Also, the accuracy varies accordingly. So, you can rely on them for a step count to some extent, but don’t expect 100 percent accuracy. Accuracy varies during a slow and fast walk. Fitness trackers can miscount steps during fast walking.
- Heart Rate: Fitness bands/ smartwatches are gaining popularity because of the excellent heart rate measurement feature. This feature allows the person to monitor their heart rate and is indeed a blessing for heart patients. These activity trackers measure heart rate by scanning blood flow near the wrist and illuminating it with LED. So, the green light flashing on your watch helps in monitoring the heart rate because it is absorbed well by red blood. The study by the heart rhythm society claims the almost perfect accuracy of these bands of a few brands in measuring the heart rate. However, chest belt heart-rate monitors are more accurate than wrist heart-rate monitors. Also, these activity trackers are beneficial in alarming a person with heart disease.
- Blood Pressure: Few fitness trackers are capable of measuring blood pressure. However, the accuracy increases when the wrist is at heart level. The research published in the International Journal of Preventive Medicine shows that accuracy decreases due to improper arm positioning or ill-fitting of bands. These bands are not as perfect as our traditional blood pressure measurement machines – sphygmomanometers.
- Sleep Tracker: A perfect night’s sleep can boost performance and improve mental health. Fitness bands can improve mental and physical wellbeing. So, these activity trackers use accelerometers that measure movement during sleep. However, they are accurate to some extent, but the quality of sleep is still an issue for many.
Wear your fitness bands/workout trackers properly for better results and accuracy. However, these bands don’t promise 100 percent accuracy but they can still help you track your health parameters to some extent. Also, wear it on your less dominant arm because that improves accuracy.
Consistency is king! Wear your fitness band every day as it allows you to track your health properly. Use the data and improve your health. Your health data is precious and can save you from many other health issues. Make sure you use it the right way.