Why Health Gurus Can’t Say No to Fitness Wearables
Aug. 14, 2015
To say that wearable technology has exploded in popularity in the last few years is something of an understatement. For the uninitiated, wearable devices are exactly that – electronic components that you wear – such as a “smart watch” or a pair of “smart glasses.” According to Statista.com, 40% of customers in the United States alone are currently interested in buying a smart watch. The same website reports that by as soon as 2018, the entire wearables market in the world will be worth just over 12.5 billion dollars.
Who’s wearing these devices? Everyone. We see our Concorde students wear them in the hallways, constantly one-upping each other trying to get to 10,000 daily steps. Health professionals of every stripe in every setting seem to be similarly hooked, praising their design simplicity and ease of use.
Let’s take a closer look at what these devices can contribute to your health.
WEARABLE DEVICES ARE MEANT TO MOTIVATE
Though many wearable devices place a heavy emphasis on improving your health, the simple act of buying a wearable device will not yield any benefits on its own. You can’t expect to spend hundreds of dollars on an Apple Watch and just expect to lose 50 pounds. The true benefit of wearable devices with regards to your health is one of empowerment. It puts the information that you need to make smarter choices and improve your lifestyle within reach in an easy-to-understand, graphic presentation.
WHAT WEARABLE DEVICES MEASURE
In general, many wearable devices often track activities like:
- The total number of steps that you take in a day (and use the same information to compute how many miles you walk during the same period of time)
- The total number of flights of stairs that you climb
- The total amount of time that you spend sitting versus standing
- Some wearable devices, like the Apple Watch, allow you to manually input how many calories that you’ve consumed during a day for tracking purposes
WHAT ARE THE HEALTH BENEFITS?
Perhaps the most significant benefit of wearable devices like the Apple Watch or the Pebble come by way of the huge volumes of accurate information that they can provide at all times. It is rare for a wearable device like a Fitbit not to come with a built-in step tracker, for example. Because of the location of the device on your body (as opposed to in your pocket like a cell phone), the step tracking information that you’re provided with is inherently more accurate than it would be if you were using a smartphone to look at the same basic data. If you know how many steps that you’re walking each day or what type of physical activity that you’re engaging in on a regular basis, you can then use that information to start to make better choices regarding how active you are throughout the day.
Wearable devices also have features like calorie tracking apps, heart rate monitors and more – all designed to give you instant access to pertinent health information whenever you need it. And while these readings won’t stand up to the precision testing of the calibrated instruments medical assistants and nurses use, you can at least establish a baseline for your existing level of movement. Use that, then, to maintain (or begin!) to live a healthy life filled with the activities you enjoy most.