I used to wear a Fitbit clipped to my waistband every day to track my steps, but lately I use the free app Map My Walk on my phone to track my longer walks. I love it. It tracks my steps, calories burned, pace, elevation, duration of walk, and charts my walk on a map. Workouts can be saved or posted on Facebook. I am sure my friends like to see me hiking in Rocky Mountain National Park while they are at work! It definitely motivates me to walk more.
Do Fitness Trackers Really Improve Your Health?
The devices aren’t terribly accurate, but that may be beside the point: getting you out and about
by Kaitlin Pitsker from Kiplinger’s Personal Finance
“Millions of Americans now wear fitness bands on their wrists to count their steps daily. Some employers are using fitness trackers to set goals—and rewards—for employees. Health and life insurers are offering premium discounts for wearing one. School systems are even using them to enable self-directed physical education programs.
How accurate are they? Fitness bands contain an accelerometer, which tracks movement in every direction to calculate the number of steps you’ve taken. But studies show that over the course of a day, many trackers have error rates of 10% to 20%. Tufts University’s Health & Nutrition Letter suggests you verify that your stride-length setting is correct by going to a track with the exact distance marked and counting your steps as you walk it. If you walk, say, 100 feet in 40 steps, divide 100 by 40. You have a stride length of about 2.5 feet.
Most fitness bands are on track when it comes to counting steps when you’re walking, running or climbing stairs—usually coming within 1% to 4% of your actual step count, says Alex Montoye, an assistant professor at Alma College who studies wearables. The devices are also good at not awarding credit for stationary activities with a lot of wrist movement, such as typing or shuffling papers.” Read more
Those who wore fitness trackers significantly increased the time they spent doing moderate to vigorous activity.