For me it doesn’t matter if they’re accurate, only that they’re consistent. So if you walk 20 steps and it counts 12, then you walk 20 more and it counts 12 more, that’s useful. If your daily total is 5,000, and tomorrow it’s 10,000, you know you were twice as active, even if you didn’t really do 5,000 or 10,000 steps.
I don’t think knowing exactly how many steps you do is useful, but measuring your activity is.
If your counter is inconsistent, so sometimes you walk and it counts too few steps, and sometimes it counts too many, and sometimes it’s right, then that’s useless.
Also bear in mind it will count steps that aren’t really steps. If you do some sort of activity where you shake your hand up and down for several minutes, it will count them as steps. That’s assuming you’re wearing a wrist strap.
Are they accurate no, are they useful, yes. I have a fitbit and i have used it while comparing the steps counter on my phone and they are reasonably similar. They do also encourage people to be more mindful of their activity. Mine alerts me if I’ve not walked much every hour. It can be easy to become too immobile when working at a desk.
The 10,000 daily step figure is a bit nonsense though
fitness trackers in general are flaky AF - as said - I take it more for the motivation than the accuracy. a prime example would be if I do an intense (where your hearts beating heard and sweating a lot) 4km workout on my rowing machine, it says I burned only a third of the calories than if I took a leisurely 2km walk outside where you wouldn’t even break a sweat.
Well for your example of walking, if you know your weight, and the distance you travelled, you can make a reasonable estimate. The heavier something is, the more energy is required to move it (a lorry burns more fuel than a motorbike). You can get a good estimate here.
The energy you burn just by existing is pretty easy to calculate too. This is, like, your body’s central heating bill. It’s called your Basel Metabolic Rate, and you can calculate it here.
A lot of calorie calculators will give you your TDEE (Total daily energy expenditure) which uses your BMR and an estimate of how active you are, to tell you how many calories you burn each day.
But it’s all estimated. Use it as a guideline if you like, but don’t take it as gospel. When I was losing weight I knew I could calculate my calories in very accurately because I was mostly eating Huel, but I knew my calories out were inaccurate. So I tried to eat far below my calories out, so even if it was wrong, I was still below it.
Yeah. I think things like Fitbits do a reasonable job, because they know your weight/height and watch you like a hawk all day. Some of them can measure your heart rate. Exercise machines tend to be shite.
You can also adjust the settings as most fitness trackers assume an average stride length. It will be fractionally more accurate if you measure the distance you cover when you take 10 steps and then edit your stride length in the app. Some Fitbits let you do this. I say fractionally more accurate though as for most people their stride length will vary quite a bit depending on the speed they are walking.
Like all monitoring (digital scales, fitness trackers, body composition trackers) it’s not the accuracy that’s most important. As said above, it’s the trend you need to monitor rather than the specific numbers. So as long as the method/technology used is consistent you’ll get a good indication of whether you are headed towards your goals.
theres more factors to it like lag calorie burning, theres different patterns to how and when your body actually burns the calories.
its not like u stand up and sit down and youve burned 1 calorie and thats the end of if.
its anecdotal but theres definitely a collective lag of burning going on at different times after excercise immediately after and days after, in different patterns.
My Garmin Instinct is fairly accurate. My iPhone is even more accurate. But in the end, it’s an approximation. As long as the “off by” amount is consistent, you should still get a value that you can evaluate for your own purposes. You can compare activity over days.
I think even thats questionable but generally I don’t mind - especially if they track on the low side. Except the treadmill in my condo gym - its heart rate monitor told me last week I was at 250bpm - I’m fairly certain I would be dead or at least heading that way fast, if that were true
You’d think it’d have some sort of warning if the monitor goes that high. Like, stop immediately and call an ambulance. Unless they have it set up for hummingbirds. But if they’re making treadmills for hummingbirds, their business is doomed.