How Accurate Are Fitness Trackers?

While advancements in technology have led to the creation of more sophisticated and effective fitness equipment, they’ve also led to more sophisticated ways to measure our progress. Apps on our smartphones, smartwatches, and fitness technologies like Fitbit can keep track of our heart rate and calorie burning, so we know exactly how far we’ve pushed ourselves. But just how accurate are these fitness-tracking monitors? It turns out to be a mixed bag.

When it comes to measuring heart rate, these fitness trackers are surprisingly accurate. Researchers at Stanford University found that with their use of LED lights to monitor blood movement, these trackers consistently measure heart rate within 5 percent of the true rate. Calorie counting, however, is a much trickier business and therefore tends to be far less accurate. Even the most accurate calorie counter studied was off by 27 percent, while the worst was a staggeringly bad 93 percent.

Why does calorie counting fare so much worse than heart rate? Well, heart rate is fairly simple to monitor you can measure your own rate just by touching your wrist and counting to 60. Calorie counting, however, must take many factors into account, including gender, age, body type, fitness level, and exertion level. Two people can be doing the same exact exercise for the same amount of time and burn off totally different amounts. Many fitness trackers, especially those built into exercise equipment at the gym, simply don’t account for these variations and instead give (often very inaccurate) estimates.

Fitness trackers may have a long way to go before they become truly reliable measurement tools, but the products from Konica Minolta Sensing have already reached that point. Illuminance meters such as the T-10A and T-10MA by Konica Minolta Sensing measure light quickly and accurately, in a conveniently portable size with simple display readings. Whether you’re a scientist measuring LEDs in a lab or a filmmaker trying to light your next shot properly, the light measurement products by Konica Minolta Sensing will be suited to your needs.

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