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Yes, a big part of how the device tracks activity and calorie burn is the accelerometer that detects movement. And time your body is moving but your arms are not (pushing a cart in the grocery store, holding something in your left hand, etc.) it will not detect the movement and will not accurately track your activity. That's why for certain activities, like biking, many of us will wear the device on our calf instead of our upper arm.
When I walk in place the armband considers it moderate activity, but today I was carrying heavy boxes up and down the stairs and even though it registered increase calorie burn, it is still calling it sedentary. Is it because my arms weren't moving that much?