How accurate are fitness tracking devices?

Dr Zakia Khan, an Interventional Cardiologist, Fortis Hospital, Kalyan, shares her views on the modern fitness devices and talks about how precise these devices and its data are

How accurate are fitness tracking devices?

Whether you’re a gym nut or just enjoy a casual run around your local park on a Saturday morning, everyone wants a fitness tracker.With new fitness trends emerging almost every day, the one that dominantly stands out is the tracking devices that monitor total burnt calories as well as one’s heart rate.

A heart rate monitor (HRM) is a personal monitoring device that allows one to measure/display heart rate in real time or record the heart rate for later study. The best heart rate monitor watches keep a finger on the pulse of your workouts.

Rapid technology development in motion sensors has further enriched the results of wearable tracking devices. Nowadays, there are increasing demands for wearable tracking devices due to the increased prevalence of lifestyle diseases.

However, the question is how accurate these devices are? The wrist-worn heart rate monitors are well designed and programmed; however, it is safe to say that they are not as precise as chest-worn or strapped devices.

With the advancements in technology, our physical instinct has decreased, and we have conveniently forgotten about technique. The practice of tracking one’s resting heart rate by placing a finger on a pulse point on the wrist; which help to count a person’s heartbeats in a minute, has been forgotten.

A fitness tracker watch is the best way to monitor your health and activity There was a time when fitness bands were little more than fancy pedometers that encouraged you to count daily steps. But that’s all changed.

Marketing of such devices has skyrocketed and has also resulted in popularity amongst scores of fitness enthusiasts due to convenience and price factors. They offer a fun and interactive way to make one fit and active while being a cool fashion accessory at the same time.

These devices simplify the process of tracking heart rate, making it ideal for one to burn more calories, increase endurance as well as improve performance. Activity trackers are a great way to monitor your activity and health with little to no effort.

The purpose of these trackers is to measure the heart rate through the skin, using sensors to detect the pulse. While these fitness monitors empower people and promote a healthier lifestyle, it is advisable that people with an existing heart condition to not depend on the accuracy of these devices.

It is advised to try out a few pedometers, smartphone accessories or tracking apps until you find one that is comfortable and suitable to your needs.

Use these devices every day, and refrain from using the device only when you need. Understand how it works, and be thorough with your readings.

Set a goal, to burn certain calories per day or walk a certain amount of steps – for heart patients, consult the doctor before you go about with the regime. Seek medical help when you are setting goals.

Keep track of the data daily. Visit your doctor regularly and share these data, it will also put to rest uncertainties that one may have.