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Be Wary of Your Fitness Tracker – Part 1

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Fitness trackers are useful for monitoring your activity and lifestyle but tests have often shown that you can’t rely on every tracker to provide accurate data. In fact, some of the devices wildly over or underestimate the number of steps you’ve taken, the distance you’ve travelled and the calories you’ve burnt – making it nearly impossible to track your progress. Read on to find out how your tracker could be misleading you.

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Distance

The fitness tracker tracks your distance in two ways, by using GPS through its built-in sensors or by tapping into your smartphone’s GPS, or by counting the number of steps you’ve taken. Researchers have found that the trackers can overstate the distance based on steps by almost 30%, and fitness-focused smartwatch can understate it by a whopping 38%. If you’re training for a marathon, you could be running anywhere between 18 and 36 miles when your wearable reports you’ve hit the 26-mile mark. Distance tracking based on built-in GPS is fairly accurate – the average difference is just 5%.

Number of Steps

A pedometer or accelerometer picks up your arm movements to calculate steps and can be found in every fitness tracker. These devices are reported to overstate the steps taken during everyday tasks by more than 35%. The everyday tasks include a series of everyday tasks, such as sweeping the floor and loading the dishwasher, to ensure a fitness tracker won’t log the daily chores as steps.

The fitness trackers can also misjudge the calories burnt and the heart rate. Keep watching this space to know more.

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