The debate over fitness trackers began almost the second these hack-your-body helpers strike the scene a couple of years ago. Do they actually work, or do they hinder your performance? Are they reliable or totally off-base? And, most importantly, which is the most accurate? Well, relating to a fresh study, there’s the official champion right now: the Apple Watch.
Fifty healthy adults were each hooked up for an electrocardiogram (EKG), which is the most accurate way to measure heart rate (but it’s nearly portable, with all those sensors and wires). Researchers measured the participants’ EKGs at rest, then while walking and jogging on treadmills. From there, the EKG results were compared with the info captured by the fitness trackers.
Among the wrist wearable, the Apple Watch tops, matching the EKG with 90-percent precision. The other three “dropped off into the low 80s for their accuracy,” explains Gordon Blackburn, PhD, one of the authors of the scholarly research and director of cardiac treatment at the medical center. While that drop might not appear hugely significant-especially while weighing the varying prices-the study also showed that the gap grew even larger as the intensity was increased because contact with the wrist is key to capturing good data.
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Blackburn clarifies that with more convenience comes more threat of less-than-perfect data-which is undoubtedly annoying for anybody who uses their tracker as their accountability BFF, but it shouldn’t be considered a deal-breaker. “What we should really noticed was all of the devices did not execute a bad job at rest to be accurate for his or her heart rate, but as the experience intensity up went, we saw increasingly more variability,” he says.
300-plus price is keeping you back from buying an Apple Watch, you’re in luck-the the next most suitable choice isn’t really much worse. Really want to get a full-body assessment? Try the new biomarker data boom, where trainers track your oxygen, fat, metabolic rate, and more. And whether you have a tracker or not, you can always force yourself to go harder at the next workout-try these five fitness treadmill hacks for crushing your inside run.
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