Your fitness tracker might be overestimating calorie burn by 50%

Last updated: 02-12-2019

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Your fitness tracker might be overestimating calorie burn by 50%

Wearable technology has totally changed the way we exercise and monitor our health, but a new study has revealed that far from helping us keep track of our daily steps and calories, even the best brands could actually be hindering our progress.

The startling results published by researchers from Aberystwyth University in the UK showed that every single fitness tracker on the market – from $19 models up to investment $129 pieces - were shockingly inaccurate.

Even the most popular brands of fitness trackers were found to be overestimating the number of calories burned from walking by as much as 50 per cent when they were put to walking and running tests.

The tests involved measuring the amount of oxygen used by a volunteer during both walking and running sessions on a treadmill. The results were then measured against a range of fitness trackers, throwing up the startling truth of their inaccuracy.

Researcher Dr Rhys Thatcher said that fitness tracker devices had an "inherent tendency" to over-measure.

"If you want to know the exact number of calories that you are burning during an exercise session then it doesn't matter which device you use, you have to interpret the data with some caution," Dr Thatcher said.

So, if you’re treating yourself to a bigger portion of pasta or a few extra sushi rolls based on the impressive number of calories your fitness tracker says you’ve burned walking around in a day, you may want reconsider.

However, if you use your tracker to monitor your progress or as a motivational tool to keep you striving to meet your daily target, then the inaccuracies in the calorie counting data is less important.

After all, if you’re getting your 10,000 steps or more in a day or hitting your exercise and fitness goals, who cares how many calories you’re burning? You’re still doing great, so keep going!

Read more: 5 mistakes you're making with your fitness tracker


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