Is Your Fitness Tracker Accurate?On by
Fitness trackers seem to be everywhere. Millions of individuals have made wearable fitness monitors part of their day-to-day wardrobe, picking out wrist bands to match their belt and shoes. But how accurate are they when it comes to monitoring your degree of physical exercise and estimating how many calories you burn throughout your 30-minute sweat session on the stair mill?
When it involves fitness trackers, there are two general types of displays: accelerometers and heartrate monitors. Accelerometer-based screens, like the Fitbit, use predictive equations using your body’s acceleration in different directions to calculate energy expenditure. NikeFuel Rings falls into this category also, along with FitBug, BodyMedia, Actigraph, and Jawbone.
Heart-rate monitors, on the other hand, use equations predicated on age, elevation, gender, physical-activity level, and relaxing heart rate to calculate the true number of calories from fat you burn off. A closer look at the various models shows that the Fitbit, one of the most popular monitors on the market, appears to be pretty accurate as it pertains to measuring energy expenditure. The mode of exercise can play a huge role in the accuracy of these monitors.
A study released in the Journal of PHYSICAL EXERCISE and Health likened the Fitbit to a lab-based way for estimation of energy costs for various activities during six-minute periods for each. The research workers found the Fitbit to either underestimate or overestimated energy expenditure by 1-25 calories. The smallest distinctions were observed in raking and treadmill running. While 25 calories may not appear like that large of a difference, expand this to an hour out, and you’re looking at a 250-calorie underestimation for cycling or stair stepping.
This certainly makes weight management and planning dietary intake for specific goals difficult. So while the Fitbit might be useful as a rough guide during specific activities, walking or running particularly, I wouldn’t trust its ability to accurately monitor energy expenditure over a full day. That is true for anyone with extreme body-composition goals especially, such as wanting to be stage-ready.
300, depending on the model. Heart-rate displays are a favorite among sportsmen, especially endurance athletes, as a means to monitor their strength levels and track their recovery during workouts. Despite their reputation, relatively little research has been done to evaluate their ability to accurately estimate energy expenditure. Additionally, it has been shown that whenever carrying out at higher intensities-think-period training-the accuracy of the heart-rate measurement decreases.5 Most monitors hire a generalized heart-rate equation to calculate energy costs.
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This helps it to be applicable to a wide audience but restricts its accuracy also, particularly when training at higher intensities. A host of factors such as stress, excitement, temperature, and hydration status can affect heart rate and energy expenditure during activity. For example, taking a run in Georgia in mid-August if it is 95 degrees and 90 percent humidity will drive up your heart rate very quickly.
Likewise, working out in a dehydrated condition increase your heart rate, which may provide a false indicator of energy costs. Training status can also change the precision of the monitors. Fitter individuals generally have a lesser exercising heart rate at any given intensity, compared to unfit individuals. Way more, trained athletes are more efficient at using energy for just about any given activity, signifying they shall burn fewer calories than their untrained companies. Consider these factors when using a heart-rate monitor to track caloric expenditure.