Step Counters: Their inaccurate truth and what you can do about it.


For many of us, getting an accurate read from our fitness band or smartwatch is essential to our workout. We each rely on the accuracy of these counts to report our success and balance our nutrition planning. The undeniable truth is however that these devices are not very accurate. In fact, they lie.


The steps being tracked will vary greatly in a single day and this can be exceptionally true between brands. However, here at JohnsonFit we have identified several reasons for the inaccuracy and determined the best course of action to ensure you get the most out of your workout and fitness steps count.


Did you know that the fitness bands interpret data from motion sensors that can, and often do, error? As an example, if you are working on a construction site and using a hammer and nails- there’s a chance that action is falsely reporting steps! Even subtle movements and vibrations can cause errors in the data, causing misinterpretations in the reading, such as walking.


Most trackers can measure an incline using a combination of sensors to measure motion and can detect air pressure. Therefore, even changes in air pressure can alter your trackers accuracy. An elevator offers a great example of how the air pressure changes in combination with vibration… often resulting in a false read.


The most difficult part of discussing all of this is that as a fitness minded individual, I want you to have an accurate reporting system.


When your step counter is accurate you can experience the wins, you have achieved in the form of visible results.


So, on to the solution: How can we improve the accuracy of our fitness tracker devices?


The Solution


The tracker is imperfect and that is okay, because I did the research to ensure you can get the most out of your step counting device. Here I will discuss the several ways to ensure you’re getting the most accurate readings from your efforts. Because we are working hard to ensure our fitness, positive mindfulness, and future health… an accurate read on the step counter is not too much to ask.


It starts with reading.


Fundamentally, the first step to ensuring the accuracy of your device is to read the manual. The manufacturer provides detailed instructions specific to the brand. Read those carefully! Before you set up the device. The manufactures instructions will ensure that you are using the tracker appropriately resulting in a more precise count of your steps.


Next many trackers request the user identifies if they are wearing the device on the dominant or nondominant hand. Your dominant hand provides the most opportunities for mistakes and data errors. This is true based on the fact that, your dominate hand gets more action!


We use it more. So, to avoid the extra steps try wearing the device on your nondominant hand.

Be sure the device is firmly attached to your wrist. Wearing the bracelet loosely causes it to rotate and respond to false data.

Finally, if the device is loose fitting, it is prevented from providing accurate readings on the more fundamental heart rate, stress, oxygen, and other sensors from accurate reporting and tracking.


Be detailed, specific, and accurate. Log your before and after step counts when you are not active. You can check your device and deduct false steps from your days total score. This action will also empower you to better know the inaccuracy of your device. Tracking the misinterpreted steps and when they occur will empower you to better understand your own fitness needs. I personally remove the device when I am preforming an activity that will report a false read.

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