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The Truth About Fitness Trackers

Fitness trackers have become popular exercise accessories over the past few years. Fit trackers are basically digital wristbands that track the user’s heart rate, calories burned, steps taken during the day, and more. Not only are they helpful for people who are trying to keep track of fitness goals, but users often bring their data to their doctors as well. However, questions have arisen concerning the accuracy of the data that fit trackers record.

Studying Fitness Trackers

Euan Ashley, a cardiologist and associate professor of medicine at the Stanford University Medical Center, and several colleagues studied seven types of fit trackers, comparing them to the official tests that doctors use to determine the accuracy of the data that they collect.

They focused on two metrics that fitness trackers record: heart rate and calories burned. To determine how accurately fit trackers recorded the user’s heart rate, they compared it to an EKG (electrocardiogram). According to the study, the fit trackers ability to record the user’s heart rate was relatively accurate; most devices were only off by roughly five percent.

When it came to calories burned, however, the fit trackers were highly inaccurate. The calories burned reported by fit trackers were compared to a scientific system of calculating metabolism. This system measures the oxygen and carbon dioxide in the breath of a person to determine how many calories are being burned. Compared to this system, fit trackers were anywhere from 20 percent to 93 percent inaccurate.

Unfortunately, not only does this mean that the data tracked by fit trackers is not accurate enough to be relied on by medical professionals, users probably shouldn’t be basing their exercise goals on them either. The inaccuracy of the calories burned metric could fool users into undermining their diet and sabotaging their fitness goals.

While fitness trackers do track certain metrics accurately, such as steps taken and heart rate, users shouldn’t rely on them heavily due to some of their inaccuracies. Keep up with all the latest news concerning health technology by visiting us at The Benefits Store today.


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