According to a new study, people should not rely on activity trackers if they want an accurate measurement of their heart rates. The researchers state that such wrist-worn devices are useful in counting the users’ steps. However, they are less accurate in monitoring and calculating the heart rate. This new study was published in the Annals of Internal Medicine journal.
The research team based its study on 4 of the most popular wrist-worn fitness activity trackers. Reportedly, all of them depend on the same technology to measure up the heart rate. More exactly, they use a LED that tracks the tiny changes that occur in the blood volume levels.
Activity Trackers Are More Useful In Reporting The Step Numbers And Not The Heart Rate
The study involved 40 adult participants aged between 30 to 65 years old. These wore the fitness trackers as they were resting and also while exercising for 10 minutes on the treadmill.
According to the results, the activity trackers were more accurate at detecting the heart rate when the participants were resting. During the 10-minutes long physical exercise session, none of the 4 devices came in close to the EKG heart-rate readings.
Also, the team noted that the fitness trackers delivered different results for the same wearer during the same activity session. They presented inconsistencies in measuring the person’s heart rate under the exact same conditions.
Lisa Cadmus-Bertram is a study co-author and a kinesiology assistant professor part of the University of Wisconsin. She pointed out the fact that people can experience several physical changes as they exercise, which can affect the heart rate measurements.
“Heart rate is easiest to measure during rest, but once you start exercising, more variables come into play including sweat, which may have an effect.”
The study team stated that more research on the accuracy of such activity trackers is still needed, especially if they are used as health indicators.
Image Source: Flickr