So, you've decided to make a significant change in your life and start exercising and eating healthier. Great! You also decided to go about it in a conscientious way and invest in a heart rate tracker to monitor your heart rate as you go.
You've seen those cool devices that people wear on their wrists when they workout and decide that would be a fun and hip way to keep track of your progress while getting in shape. However, what if the device you are now depending on for readings is in fact inaccurate?
In a recent study conducted at California State Polytechnic University, 43 people were outfitted with Fitbits and ECG sensors while participating in a 65-minute routine of moderate to high-intensity exercise. The results revealed that the PurePulse technology in the Fitbits had an "extremely weak correlation" in conjunction with the heart rate recorded by the ECGs.
The researchers also discovered that Fitbit measurements were up to 20 beats per minute off during exercise. In some cases, Fitbits placed on both wrists of the same individual recorded different rates, some even recorded heart rates as low as zero.
According to Fitbit, the lawyer-funded study "lacks scientific rigor and is the product of flawed methodology." They also argued that the ECGs used in the study were consumer-grade, not clinical.
Assistant professor of clinical exercise physiology at Ball State University, Alex Montoye, who conducted his own research on Fitbits, told CNN they are pretty good at giving a "ballpark estimate of activity levels, but these are difficult elements to measure perfectly." Montoye added the Fitbit is not a medical instrument nor does it claim to be, which is why the company uses terminology like "track" instead of "measure" in their marketing materials and never guarantees 100 percent accuracy.
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