Do Fitness Trackers Work?

Sep3rd 2021

Technology is used in nearly every aspect of our lives. Now, more than ever, we’re empowered by technology to monitor our health, fitness, and overall wellness. Thanks in part to companies like Fitbit, Garmin, and Apple, we can track our heart rate, caloric intake/burn, and daily steps. You can even share your results with friends and family! Activity trackers, now doubling as stylish smartwatches, are worn by the masses to gather information about your wellness. But, do they really work?

Let’s dig a  bit deeper into the world of fitness trackers.

What Exactly Do Fitness Trackers Track? 

Since its release into the market by Dr. Yoshiro Hatano in 1965, fitness monitoring has advanced greatly. In addition to heart rate, calories burned, and daily steps, this gauges a series of advanced metrics for your body. 

With the help of a smartphone app, wearable trackers help you monitor and log the mechanics of your body.

Cardiac Health

Resting Heart Rate (RHR)

Heart Rate Variability (HRV)

Body Temperature

Respiratory Rate (RR)

Daily Activity


Calories burned

Inactive time

Walking distance

Sleep Efficiency



Deep sleep

REM sleep

Total hours of sleep

Health and wellness involve more than physical activity and food. Sleep cycles, medical conditions, and family history also determine your health levels. Tracking sleep times and resting heart rate establishes what you need to reach and maintain for a healthy level of fitness considering gender, age, and body type.   

How Accurate Are Fitness Trackers?

Short answer: It depends on what you want to monitor. 

Daily smartwatch wearers may not pay attention or aim to reach the 10,000 steps set as a daily goal. On the other hand, an individual with high blood pressure may pay more attention to cardiac health monitoring. Fitness trackers, though helpful, are not meant to replace medical professionals. They remind you to be active, drink water, and stay motivated through your workout. No matter your health goals, activity monitors can help you understand the metrics of your body and how they impact each other. 

Sensors inside of fitness trackers help ensure accuracy, but even they can falter. If you don’t think your health monitor is logging correctly, try wearing it on your dominant wrist or ankle. You can also cross-reference the results by manually checking your heart rate or taking your temperature.

Wearing an Activity Monitor for Physical Therapy 

Long gone are the clip-on trackers we wore back in the day. Smartwatch trackers are interactive applications that will log each day’s events. If you track your body’s levels during physical therapy, be prepared to see motivational messages. Muscle-isolation workouts may not reflect the calories burned, but your heart rate will show exactly how hard your body’s working. 

This comes as a surprise to most people, but physical fitness can be mental too. Whether you’re at home or at an OSR Physical Therapy clinic, your fitness tracker can help keep you motivated: “Good job!”, “You’re on the right track!”, and “Killing it!” are just a few encouraging messages from a health tracker. Those words might be the motivation you need to power through your therapy. If you’ve been putting off physical therapy, contact the staff at OSR Physical Therapy to begin again with a complimentary assessment