Thanks to Logan over at WearableZone for the following infographic. Below are some additional notes that I discussed during a session at the Nova Scotia Fitness Instructor Association.
Fitness trackers are useful for knowing just how productive your hikes are. Every day, you can check your calories burned, steps counted, heart rate, and even how much sleep you get at night. But is that information accurate? You can’t cram sophisticated medical equipment into something that fits on your wrist, so fitness trackers use alternative methods. For example, fitness trackers use LED lights to take your pulse instead of an ECG, and they guess whether or not you’re sleeping based on movement.
So maybe they aren’t perfect, but how close do they get?
To answer that question, exercise scientists have researched the accuracy of fitness trackers over the last few years. The results are mixed. For example, almost all fitness trackers are very good at tracking steps. They’re a little less accurate at tracking heart rate, but they’re still pretty close. But when it comes to tracking calories burned, they’re usually far off the mark.
This infographic from WearableZone summarizes some of the most recent research on the subject. Keep it in mind the next time you strap on a Fitbit or Garmin watch to record your expeditions.