Is Your Wrist-Worn Device Accurate, Valid or Useful?” (Research)

I’ll start this off by saying I have NEVER worn an Apple watch or anything like that. I use my phone to SOMETIMES get an estimate of my steps per day or a FREE app to check my morning heart rate. I just don’t see the purpose for ME but it seems EVERYONE I know has some sort of wearable technology.

I wanted to share the recent research broken down by Stronger By Science linked HERE. I highly recommending subscribing to their emails for great breakdowns of research. I will share some major point made in the study but please read the link! 

Unfortunately, the researchers found that these wearable devices were pretty disappointing when it comes to estimating energy expenditure 

Based on the data, it’s hard to argue with them, and they’re certainly not the first group to reach this type of conclusion – previous systematic reviews by Fuller et al and Evenson et al concluded that commercially available wearable devices estimated energy expenditure with insufficient validity.

The presently reviewed study found that the Apple Watch 6 did a pretty good job of tracking heart rate, whereas the heart rate accuracy of the other two devices varied depending on the type of activity being performed

Wearables can be great for measuring and tracking other physiological metrics (such as heart rate and step counts), but patient and consistent tracking of changes in energy intake and body composition is currently our best option for making inferences about energy expenditure and energy balance. 

The available research suggests that many wearable devices tend to do a pretty poor job of estimating energy expenditure and sleep metrics, but some may be pretty valid when it comes to measuring heart rate and step counts. I say “may” because the relative validity and reliability of each specific device must be assessed independently, with some models performing substantially better than others.

I will add this, I am not against wearable technology but I am against making major health decisions based on the metrics in those watches. 

So, what should you do? Track your daily steps since research shows those who walk 10-12k per day are healthier, track you intake and track your body composition!