The amount of calories you burn depends on several factors
Calorie burn indicators and why you shouldn’t trust them
One of the most satisfying feelings when you’re putting that cardio in is watching the feedback on the treadmill monitor. The kilometres, the minutes, the calorie burn…but what if they can’t be trusted?
The amount of calories you burn depends on several factors: your height, weight, age, gender, level of exertion, metabolism, etc. So how, without taking these factors into consideration, can a machine measure how many calories you’ve burned?
Gym machines- are they to be trusted?
Obviously values such as speed, distance and time are easy to accurately calculate; but a lot of information has recently come to light regarding the inaccuracy of the calorie counters on gym machines such as the treadmill, elliptical, etc.
What often happens is that you are asked to input some details such as your age, weight and gender, and average values are used to approximate the amount of calories burned. However, research has shown that the average elliptical machine overestimates calorie burn by about 40%, stair-steppers by about 20%, and treadmills by about 10% (although they are the most accurate as long as you don’t use the handrails).
Therefore, the most accurate reading you will get regarding how many calories you have burned is when factors such as your heart rate are also taken into consideration.
But what about wearable fitness technology?
Many fitness watches now come standard with heart rate monitors and ask for details that allow them to measure the amount of calories you burn fairly accurately. It is necessary to note that while they are more accurate, it is very difficult to get a 100% accurate reading without extensive and expensive testing. For most people, however, these watches are the best option! Also remember that your sweat is not wasted- any time you get your body moving and blood pumping, you are doing yourself a favour.
So next time your treadmill tells you you’ve burned 1000 calories, please don’t take that as an excuse to grab a post-gym Big Mac!
by Chanel Serfontein