Fitness trackers are ‘adding miles’ to marathon training: Research

By Digit NewsDesk | Updated 29 Apr 2019
Fitness trackers are ‘adding miles’ to marathon training: Research
  • The fitness trackers are allegedly measuring the distance wrong.
  • The researchers found the Garmin Vivosmart 4 to be least accurate of the 118 trackers they tested.
  • The trackers were tested on a treadmill to complete the distance of a marathon, which is 26.2 miles or 42km.

Some fitness trackers are reportedly posting inaccurate tracking results, according to a research note from consumer watchdog Which? The researchers found a lot of fitness trackers used by people training for marathons are overestimating the distance run. These fitness trackers are allegedly measuring the distance wrong.

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The researchers found the Garmin Vivosmart 4 to be least accurate of the 118 trackers they tested. The tracker overrestimated the distance run by 10.8 miles, which means the runner actually ran 37 miles. The trackers were tested on a treadmill to complete the distance of a marathon, which is 26.2 miles or 42km. Garmin said the result wasn’t accurate because it doesn’t have GPS.

The Vivosmart 4, according to Garmin is an “all-round fitness tracker”. Instead, Garmin reccommended marathon runners use its Forerunner range which is GPS-enabled.

The researchers also tested all the eight Apple Watch models and the Apple Watch Series 1 was found to be most accourate, overestimating the distance by 1 percent. The Apple Watch Series 3 underestimated the distance by 13 percent meaning the runner ran a distance of 22.8 miles.

Among other trackers the researchers tested, the Samsung Gear S2 measured 36.2 miles, Xiaomi Amazfit Bip measured 34 miles and Huawei Watch 2 Sport meausred 18.9 miles.

Earlier, another research found that all the trackers they tested overestimated the number of calories burned during activity. However, some agree that the treadmill test wasn’t the best method of measuring accuracy as the devices rely on a combination of measuring the length of strides and step-counting algorithm instead of GPS to calculate distance.

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