Lately fitness trackers have invaded the sports world by a storm, it is quite rare now to find a fitness tracker that does not have a heart rate tracking feature. The big questions here are how does it do that? And how precise can it be?
Usually any fitness tracker can also measure your activities such as the distance you walk, the number of steps you climb and the calories you burn, that is why these trackers are becoming an essential device for athletes in order for them to keep tabs on their health stats.
Do Wearable Heart Trackers Actually Work?
These trackers can be placed on your wrist, they are adorned with sensors that can measure the acceleration, frequency, duration, intensity and patterns of your movement while you are exercising, one of the most important sensors of a tracker is the light sensor; these fitness trackers use light to measure the body’s pulse.
The process works by shining a light into the blood vessels located in your wrist after that they start to detect the changes in the blood volume which happens every time your heart beats and pushes blood throughout your body. Sensors on the device detect how much light your blood vessels reflect back thus less reflected light means a higher blood volume.
This technology is called photoplethysmography or PPG for short.
Furthermore, this technology is not only used in the tracker devices but is also used in hospitals. Experts confirm that the devices that use this technology are very accurate at monitoring the heart rate, in spite of that these devices verge to be a bit imprecise when a user starts making an intense activity.
How Accurate Are Fitness Tracker Heart Rate Monitors?
Long story short, these wearable technologies rely on using an LED light to make the capillary veins in your wrist visible to a sensor in order to measure how fast your blood is pumping, after that this information is then interpreted as your heart rate and later is presented in a “beats per minute” data format.
However, if you want to receive an accurate reading, the wearer should be totally still thus any simple move can effect the tracker’s heart rate reading.
If you want a device that solely works on getting an accurate heart rate reading, then a fitness tracker might not be your call.
We suggest getting a heart rate monitor watch, it requires you to be still so it could read your rate, and unlike most trackers; instead of taking an idle reading of your pulse, the device requires you to touch your finger to a built-in pad to such a degree the results have a more accurate reading, one that fitness trackers aspire to have.