Are wearables really an accurate index for the physical activity needed for good health?

Twenty-four Hours of Sleep, Sedentary Behavior, and Physical Activity with Nine Wearable Devices

Medical research shows good health is promoted by adequate exercise, limited sitting and sufficient sleep. This study compared data from medical research devices for tracking physical activity with consumer wearables to see if the wearables accurately measure the important aspects of activity in a 24-hour period. Subjects wore nine devices simultaneously for 24 hours, including a full waking day and a full night of rest.

Devices were compared for measurement of exercise, sitting time, light activity, sleep and steps taken. Consumer devices did not provide the same output as the research devices – with two exceptions. The Lumoback did accurately record sitting time and the research device (Actigraph GT3x+) accurately measured sleep time. Many of the consumer wearables tested did not measure all of the 24-hour activity cycle. Yet, these are important measures of health. This research should be updated so that this rapidly changing technology can be evaluated as it evolves. The addition of accurate heart rate should improve the ability of consumer devices to measure the 24-hour activity cycle. View the study’s abstract.

By American College of Sports Medicine