Are Treadmill Calorie Counters Accurate?

Are Treadmill Calorie Counters Accurate
When it comes to the calorie counters on treadmills, ellipticals, rowers, and other similar cardio equipment, you might be getting mixed reviews. After all, how do you know if the treadmill calorie counters are even accurate? Between different brands of machines to different heights, weights, and fitness levels of people, it can be difficult to have an accurate, exact number of calories burned for each person that hops on.

Even so, it can definitely be a confidence booster to look down at the screen at the end of a three-mile walk or five-mile jog and see what the treadmill has predicted that you’ve burned in just a short amount of time. This might even inspire you to go further in your current workout, or go to the gym more often during the week!

Variables In Counting Calories

With so many variables to take into consideration when determining if treadmill calorie counters are accurate or not, there can most certainly be some confusion when you hop on the belt to begin your workout. Across the board, you need to keep in mind that the number that pops up on the screen at the end of your workout (in regards to calories torched during your workout session) is just going to be an estimate. No machine is going to sync 100% to your body and be spot on with caloric burn. In fact, most treadmill calorie counters are going to end up saying that you burned much more than you actually did, and this is due to several factors.

If you’ve ever used a piece of cardio equipment, the first thing that pops on the screen are questions regarding your weight, height, and age. There are more important factors to consider that a standard treadmill won’t ask – such as if you’re a beginner to exercise, or if you’ve run several marathons which over time, will cause you to burn fewer calories since you’re proficient at the specified exercise. A treadmill also won’t ask you what size you are, or what your body composition is – which is important since someone can weigh the same as you but have different proportions of muscle mass and fat mass. All of these factors can change up just how many calories you are burning.

Are Heart Rate Wearables Accurate?

Because of the inefficiency of treadmills, and other cardiovascular equipment, to accurately predict just how many calories you’re burning while working out, there are other alternatives. That’s where heart rate monitors come into play. There are plenty of trackers out on the market today to choose from, and comfort plays a big part in which one you decide to use. However, chest straps and wristwatches are two of the most utilized heart rate monitor systems out there.

Chest Strap Heart Rate Monitors

If you’re looking for the best accuracy for calories in correlation with heart rate, you’re going to want to find a chest strap heart rate tracker. These bands typically go right below your chest muscles, with the tracker located in the front for the best reading. The heart rate information can then be sent to your smartphone via an app, and you can have live readings during your training sessions.

Smartwatch Heart Rate Monitors

Another choice for heart rate monitors is a smartwatch, which can also relay info through Bluetooth to your phone – or even better, to the treadmill that you’re using! Many of the trackers on the market today allow this accessibility, and likewise, so do most treadmills. If you’re wanting to accurately count the calories that you’re burning while you’re working out, invest in a heart rate tracker that can connect to your treadmill via Bluetooth so that you can get the most accurate reading – and not the estimation of what the treadmill would give you.

All in all, be aware that when it comes to determining the accuracy of treadmill calorie counters (without the assistance of heart rate monitors), you’ll probably be getting an overestimated, inaccurate number. Although it can be helpful to monitor caloric burn while you’re working out, know that your overall health and mindset after exercising is just as important – if not more so – than the numbers that pop up on the screen!

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