We’ve all looked down at our Fitbit and wondered how it really knows what our heart rate is, or whether it’s really able to log every step accurately.
Through our testing, we’ve found Fitbit to be among the most accurate in sleep tracking, heart monitoring and step counting, with its in-house algorithms improving all the time. Still, did you know it’s possible to actually improve the accuracy of your Fitbit by tweaking some settings?
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By calibrating the fitness tracker or smartwatch, you’re giving it a helping hand in logging your activity from the wrist – whether that’s floors climbed, hours slept or calories burned.
Here’s five ways to change the settings to ensure you get the very best results.
Tip 1: Improve step counting and distance accuracy
If you’re finding your Fitbit is off the mark with tracking distance or steps, adjusting your stride length will help. Even if it’s generally accurate, setting a manual stride length will ensure you’re not overestimating or underestimating your daily activity and workouts.
1. In the Fitbit app, tap the ‘Account’ icon in the top right and scroll down to ‘Advanced Settings’.
2. From here, you should see an option for ‘Stride Length’. If you haven’t tweaked this before, it’s likely set to automatically track your steps, adjusting whenever you’ve ran with GPS enabled.
3. If you toggle it off, you’ll be able to set this manually.
How to work out your stride length
Find out out by walking (or running) over a short distance and then dividing that total distance by the number of steps taken. You can enter different stride lengths for running and walking, so make sure you do for maximum accuracy.
Tip 2: Improve sleep tracking accuracy
You can calibrate your Fitbit for sleep, even if you don’t have the advanced Sleep Stages and Sleep Insights features.
1. In the Fitbit app, go to Account > Advanced Settings > Sleep Sensitivity.
2. By default, this will be set to ‘Normal’, but you can tweak it to ‘Sensitive’ if you find that the tracker isn’t registering your sleep, or is registering odd results.
Tip 3: Calibrate exercise detection
Through Fitbit SmartTrack, workouts are automatically detected, including walking, running, cycling and even swimming. By going into ‘Account’ and then into ‘Exercise’, you can tweak how long Fitbit will wait to kick in tracking when it automatically detects an exercise is happening.
The shortest amount of time you can set this for is 10 minutes, but, don’t worry, any exercise you do in those first few minutes will still be accounted for.
However, if you find auto-tracking isn’t working quite right, even once you’ve adjusted the time, you can turn it off for each exercise individually.
Tip 4: Improve swim tracking accuracy
If you want to track a swim session, make sure you’ve calibrated the tracker to the length of the pool. You can do this by going into your Account > Advanced Settings and then tapping through to the option to adjust the pool length.
On the Ionic or Versa series smartwatches, you can do this before each swim on the watch itself by tapping the cog icon in the top left and adjusting the distance. Make sure you do to ensure the best accuracy.
Tip 5: Which wrist are you wearing your Fitbit?
A small point, but still important: make sure you tell the Fitbit app which wrist you’re wearing your Fitbit on. You can do this by going into ‘Account’ in the top left, and from there you should see an option for ‘Wrist’ at the top.
Tap on that and tell it whether you’re wearing your tracker on your dominant or non-dominant hand. It’s a little thing, but it could make a marked difference in accuracy.