Pedometer / Calorie counter

My dad has a St Jude pacemaker. He's looking for something to help him track his distance / calories burnt during his long walks. We were looking at something like the Garmin Forerunner 55 or similar. However, I'm told they don't work well with pacemakers. Are there any consumer devices we can get for him that works correctly for people with pacemakers?


they all work

by Tracey_E - 2022-09-28 10:35:55

Garmin, fitbit, Apple watch... they will all work for his purposes. Where they are not always accurate is the heart rate tracking during activity.  


by ashic - 2022-09-28 10:46:35

Thanks for the response, @Tracey_E . I had two concerns - a) will it interfere with the pacemaker (i.e. make his pacemaker fail)? and b) if the hear rate tracking is off, wouldn't the calorie counts be incorrect as well?


by AgentX86 - 2022-09-28 14:18:57

None are going to bother the pacemaker at all.  Absolutly no problem here.

They all do a good job of counting steps, though some are off with miles/km walked.  Everyone has a different stride length so it wouldn't be unusual for there to be a 10% error.  If you care, one with GPS will be better. They all do a lousy job of measuring heart rate, though.  Sometimes they work, sometimes not.  Which is it now? Mine will usually say nothing, sometimes it's good sometimes not so. I already know it's 80bpm at rest during the day and 50 at night. If it agrees, it's good.  If it says anything else, and it does, it's not good.  Sometimes when I walk it says 110bpm (which is reasonable) the other day it was 198bpm.  Not so good (impossible).

They often say that they're not for people with pacemakers because any heart monitoring may be thrown off by the pacing spikes. The ones intended to find arrhythmias don't do well with pacemakers and haven't been approved by the FDA (or the appropriate regulatory body) for people with pacemakers.  They won't be because the market isn't there.

Calorie counting isn't great.  They count steps and assume some conversion to calories.  This conversion is pretty unreliable.  My watch/phone can vary 30% from day to day with exactly the same exercise.

So the bottom line is that if all you're going to do with it is count steps, they're awesome. If you think it will do anything else, not so great.  IMO, they won't hurt but not likely to help either.


by doublehorn48 - 2022-09-28 14:25:06

I wear a Garmin Forerunner 35. This is my second one. It's great for tracking distance and pace. I'm leary of any device when it comes to calories. Runners World years ago said 100 calories per mile. That's what I ues to calculate calories. To me distance and pace are much more important. For heart rate do it yourself. Heart rate is all over the place depending on the device used.


by Tracey_E - 2022-09-28 14:35:24

1. nothing will interfere with the pacer

2. calorie count is just a guess anyway. It's always going to be an estimate, however the heart rate count should be reasonably accurate.

Step counter

by Lurker - 2022-09-28 17:47:54

If all you want to do is count steps the iPhone has a built in app that does a pretty decent job. It also counts your flights of stairs you go up. 


by Julros - 2022-09-29 10:24:39

I wear a Garmin 45 and love it. It showed me that I wasn't getting great  rate response when walking so I asked for  and got greating adjustments. It works will with an app on my phone to allow me track intake and compare calories in and out, and with this help, I lost 40 pounds. I used the training programs available through thier website to train and complete 5K and 10K runs. It is accurate enough for my needs. 

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