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Apologies to anyone who thought their Fitbit/Jawbone was going to be their silver bullet solution to a lifetime of laziness.
Turns out, it’s a waste of money.
A new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, has just proven that smartphones are better at tracking physical activity than those ubiquitous wristband trackers.
Pitting wristband trackers against traditional pedometers and 10 fitness apps, in a treadmill battle with 14 healthy adults, the study found that free apps were more accurate than the wearable devices.
The free workout apps recorded a six percent discrepancy in the amount of steps counted compared to the steps taken, whereas the wearable devices like the Fitbit Flex, Nike Fuelband and Jawbone UP24 differed up to 22 percent. Which really does make a difference when you’re striding up at down the hall at 10:30pm at night deperately trying to make your daily target of 10,000 steps.
“Since step counts are such an important part of how these devices and apps measure physical activity, including calculating distance or calories burned, their accuracy is key,” said the study’s senior author Mitesh S. Patel.
“Compared to the one to two percent of adults in the U.S. that own a wearable device, more than 65 percent of adults carry a smartphone. Our findings suggest that smartphone apps could prove to be a more widely accessible and affordable way of tracking health behaviors.”
But don’t despair if you recently dropped 120 fat ones on a wristband tracker, there is some good news.
Patel says for those times you’re running or cycling or as this Jezebel writer more accurately points out, shovelling ice cream into your gob, you don’t want to be encumbered by a smartphone while you’re doing it.
Plus some of the more expensive trackers can monitor your heartbeat in real time, so they’re more appealing to those of us who indulge in more rigorous physical activity. You know, like actually running as opposed to using it as an accessory.
If this isn’t enough to turn you off fitness trackers, here are some of of The Glow team’s favourites.
Do you think you get the most out of your fitness tracker? Has it changed the way you exercise?