Although they look cool, fitness trackers might not be your best bet, recent findings suggest. According to Dr. Marc Gillinov, heart surgeon at Cleveland Clinic, many people call him worried because their heart-rate monitors displayed crazy digits.
Based on the American Heart Association, these wrist-worn watches are accurate only when you take a relaxing run, as they display 190 beats/per minute, which is the maximum average heart rate for people in their thirties.
Gillinov and his team conducted an experiment to find out how accurate these devices are. Therefore, using 50 healthy volunteers, they analyzed the participants’ cardiac activity during vigorous exercises and standard workout programs.
All of them wore heart rate monitors from top brands such as Basis Peak, Fitbit Charge HR, Mio Fuse, and Apple Watch. As it turned out, they became inaccurate when the users switched to an intense exercise program.
Scientists also used a Polar H7 chest strap with an electrocardiogram and compared its performance with the fitness trackers’ results. Based on the findings, no wrist-worn device was as accurate as the Polar H7 which was 99 percent as precise as the EKG.
The only heart-rate monitor that came closer to the Polar H7 accuracy was the Mio Fuse and the Apple Watch with readings which matched the EKG results in 91 percent of the time.
Other devices such as Basic Peak and Fitbit had an 83 and 84 percentage. Survey participants had a median age of 37, were thin, and had an overall 23.5 BMI. Any person who has a BMI higher than 25 is regarded as overweight.
Gillinov further speculates that these fitness trackers will prove to be less accurate if they are worn by overweight individuals, who might suffer from a poor blood circulation or high blood pressure.
Fitness trackers measure heart rate by monitoring the blood volume changes which occur with every heart beat. Also, when users make sudden moves or during an intensive run, the watch is usually lift off the skin, so it becomes impossible for the device to keep monitoring the heart rate during that second gap.
Experts will double their efforts to improve the technological features of these devices to make them more accurate, user-friendly, and reliable. Based on the study’s results, the Apple Watch and Mio Fuse are the most precise fitness trackers on the market.
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