Health and Fitness

Is your workout tracker fooling you?

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?

Workout tracker

  1. 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. 
  2. 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. 
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

Takeaways:

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.

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11 Comments

  • Reply
    Jeannine
    August 15, 2022 at 1:25 pm

    I’ve noticed this with some running apps we’ve used to use when we’re into running last year. My hubby and I would be running together but have like a 1 km difference which is quite weird! I guess, only real way to see our progress in our workouts is on how our feeling and how our body function in general improves. I personally feel more alive throughout the day despite waking up at 5am when I get to workout in the morning than waking up at 8am and need to rush doing things and skip a workout.

  • Reply
    Sandy N Vyjay
    August 16, 2022 at 3:32 pm

    I think this is a very relevant post. Undue and blind reliance on fitness trackers is not right. In fact the best tracker, I feel is actually your mind, which tells you the right amount of exercise that your body needs.

  • Reply
    Saania
    August 16, 2022 at 3:56 pm

    I’ve actually never tried these but my dad uses one. Thanks for sharing, it’s worth it to know the accuracy of these trackers specially if you’re aiming to lose calories and have fitness goals.

  • Reply
    Ranjeeta Nath Ghai
    August 16, 2022 at 4:18 pm

    There are a lot of different fitness bands and workout trackers on the market, so it is tough to know which one is right for me. These pointers here sure will help me narrow down my search.

  • Reply
    Samata
    August 16, 2022 at 5:00 pm

    What I can say is that fitness trackers are good to use but better we keep a track on our own too mentally. Steps r difficult to count manually so better we count atleast 500 steps minus what shown by app. In respect to running we knowhow much area we are covering and there is no need to keep an app for that. Apps are good as long as we are using it smartly.

  • Reply
    Kriti
    August 17, 2022 at 1:03 am

    I thought calories tracker worked well
    Will have to reevaluate now

  • Reply
    Khushboo
    August 17, 2022 at 4:53 am

    I also wear fitness band and I always wonder why it’s shows different reading every time. I know we can’t rely 100 % on these trackers.

  • Reply
    Amy
    August 17, 2022 at 7:41 am

    Exactly! Brands won’t promise 100% accurately. The only plus points to wear fitness brands are, they keep you motivating about the calories you burn. And you work out more or take some extra steps to complete your daily goals 🤗

  • Reply
    Humaira
    August 17, 2022 at 6:08 pm

    Fitness trackers may inaccurately count steps and calories. I also wear fitness band and I always wonder why it’s shows different reading every time.

  • Reply
    Rakhi Jayashankar
    August 18, 2022 at 9:04 am

    They can be fooled too. I just wanted to check this and simply waved hands so fast back n forth and the tracker counted it as my steps. I don’t know if this is the same with alll

  • Reply
    Sarita Panda
    August 19, 2022 at 12:07 pm

    This is such an eye opening post. We have noticed it last year only , we should not believe or dependent such apps , just focus on daily workouts and schedule. That will be best 😍😍

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