Activity Trackers – Do They Work?
If you want to get in shape; keeping track of your activity is definitely a good idea.
Whilst energy balance or energy in vs energy burned is not the ONLY factor in successful change, calories in vs calories out is sort of the master regulator for all body composition change.
So, if you want to eat less than you burn off, wouldn’t be helpful to know how much you are burning?
Activity trackers aim to do just that.
A recent study by Jun-Min Lee, University of Nebraska, took 8 of the most popular consumer activity trackers (including Fitbit and Nike Fuel band) and measured their accuracy (against gaseous exchange through indirect calorimetry for those of you who are interested)
The study found that the trackers showed between 9,3%-23.5% error in comparison to the more reliable gaseous exchange testing. So, they are not a million miles off but if you were using them in order to then manage your food intake and create a deficit an error of just 10% is pretty big!
Another study found that the wearable’s over estimated at slower speeds and underestimated at higher speeds. I have to say this has been my experience of checking their accuracy when clients where them against my Polar FT2’s and H6’s.
Often during intense exercise they can underestimate by as much as 40 beats per minute!
This would be a problem if you are planning on using them for hitting heart rate zones in training and could be a factor in creating the toughest (and most unachievable) session you have ever done.
So that’s the bad news out of the way. The good news is there is come great wearable activity monitors out there like the actiheart
The trouble is they are still quite pricey to say the least and lets face it nowhere near as cool!
What’s the future of wearable tech?
I couldn’t write an article on wearable tech without a note on where google are taking things. They have been granted a patent for contact lenses that measure your glucose levels The lenses will measure glucose every second by tear osmolarity; great for diabetics and obsessive compulsives!
A concept that most of us couldn’t even conceive, let alone create.
The problem with tech and apps is that they provide yet more information when most people are already overrun with information.
Want to know how to make sense of it all? It’s not as difficult as you might think. Drop us a line and get started today.
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