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Phones are as accurate as fitness trackers

Modern phones have an array of different sensors that can track so many different things. While our phones can track our steps, sleep, and other movement from our pockets we put fitness trackers on our wrist because we have an illusion that they will be better at tracking our movement through the day. A new study from Perelman School of Medicine and the Center for Health Incentives and Behavioral Economics at the University of Pennsylvania, test the phones and fitness trackers accuracy.

As part of the test, 14 participants were required to walk on a treadmill for 500 steps and then 1,500 steps, twice each, for a total of 56 trials in total. During the walk the participants carried two phones in their pockets and wore a fitness tracker.

At the end of the study the data showed that the phone and fitness tracker only had slightly different data on the amounts of steps.

“Compared to the one to two percent of adults in the U.S. that own a wearable device, more than 65 percent of adults carry a smartphone,” said senior author Mitesh S. Patel. ”Our findings suggest that smartphone apps could prove to be a more widely accessible and affordable way of tracking health behaviors.”

If you don’t want to invest in a fitness tracker or you don’t like wearing one all of the time you can now count steps right off your phone with a simple app. This hasn’t caught on just yet, but the apps I’ve test out appear to drain the phones battery large enough that I could notice a difference. Either way its a nice way to enter into the market before you start making large investments on fitness trackers.

Tell us in the comments if you have a fitness or if you use an app on your phone to track your steps or sleep.