Smart watch

Personal Technologies

Grant Abt
Faculty of Health Sciences
Professor Grant Abt

The Challenge

One in four adults and three in four adolescents do not currently meet the recommendations for physical activity set by the World Health Organisation, putting them at a 20-30% increased risk of early death.

The purpose of our research group is to understand how wearable personal technologies - such as smartwatches - can influence physical activity behaviour, as one component of a multifactorial solution to this global physical inactivity problem.

The Approach

It is only in the last few years that wearable technologies have reached widespread adoption among the general population. As such, our initial approach has been to examine fundamental aspects of these devices such as their accuracy in measuring heart rate and moderate-to-vigorous physical activity. Once we have a better understanding of these aspects, we can then start to investigate whether these devices can change physical activity behaviour through conducting randomised controlled trials.



Fitness tracker


  • To provide leadership and expertise in the area of fitness-related personal technologies across the institution, as well as nationally and internationally
  • To examine the efficacy and long-term effectiveness of personal technologies for increasing physical activity and creating physical activity behaviour change


Outputs and publications

Abt, G., & Benson, A. C. (2017). Smartwatch technology for physical activity measurement and behaviour change: fabulous or fad? The Sport and Exercise Scientist, 20–21.

Abt, G., Bray, J., & Benson, A. C. (2018a). Measuring Moderate-Intensity Exercise with the Apple Watch: Validation Study. JMIR Cardio, 2(1), e6.

Abt, G., Bray, J., & Benson, A. C. (2018b). The validity and inter-device variability of the Apple WatchTM for measuring maximal heart rate. Journal of Sports Sciences, 36(13), 1447–1452.

Abt, G., Bray, J., Myers, T., & Benson, A. C. (2019). Walking cadence required to elicit criterion moderate-intensity physical activity is moderated by fitness status. Journal of Sports Sciences, 37(17), 1989–1995.

Honkoop, P. J., Simpson, A., Bonini, M., Snoeck-Stroband, J. B., Meah, S., Fan Chung, K, Sont, J. K. (2017). MyAirCoach: the use of home-monitoring and mHealth systems to predict deterioration in asthma control and the occurrence of asthma exacerbations; study protocol of an observational study. BMJ Open, 7(1), e013935.

Khushhal, A., Nichols, S., Carroll, S., Abt, G., & Ingle, L. (2019). Insufficient exercise intensity for clinical benefit? Monitoring and quantification of a community-based Phase III cardiac rehabilitation programme: A United Kingdom perspective. PLOS ONE, 14(6), 1–12.

Khushhal, A, Nichols, S., Carroll, S., Abt, G., & Ingle, L. (2020). Characterising the application of the “progressive overload” principle of exercise training within cardiac rehabilitation: A United Kingdom-based community programme. PLOS ONE, 15(8), e0237197.

Khushhal, A., Nichols, S., Evans, W., Gleadall-Siddall, D., Page, R., O’Doherty, A., Abt, G. (2017). Validity and Reliability of the Apple Watch for Measuring Heart Rate During Exercise. Sports Medicine International Open, 1(06), E206–E211.

Sañudo, B., De Hoyo, M., Muñoz-López, A., Perry, J., & Abt, G. (2019). Pilot Study Assessing the Influence of Skin Type on the Heart Rate Measurements Obtained by Photoplethysmography with the Apple Watch. Journal of Medical Systems, 43(7), 195.

Simpson, A. J., Honkoop, P. J., Kennington, E., Snoeck-Stroband, J. B., Smith, I., East, J, Fowler, S. J. (2017). Perspectives of patients and healthcare professionals on mHealth for asthma self-management. European Respiratory Journal, 49(5), 1601966.



Research Students

Alaa Khushhal (Graduated)

The efficacy of wearable technology for use during cardiac rehabilitation

Dr Grant Abt, Prof Lee Ingle

Ash Warner

The effect of individualisation on measures of physical activity

Dr Grant Abt, Assoc Prof Amanda Benson, Prof Natalie Vanicek, Prof Tony Myers


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