It wasn’t all that way back when all “wearable health know-how” meant was a easy pedometer—succesful solely of measuring a person’s step depend. However now? Expertise has superior so considerably that there are two separate classes of wearables:
- “Conventional” health trackers: Able to monitoring exercise, steps, velocity, sleep, coronary heart fee, blood stress, and respiration.
- Smartwatches: Past monitoring well being and health information, smartwatches additionally provide smartphone options, like texting, calling, and different app integrations.
As such, pondering of one thing health wearables can’t do between the 2 classes is actually a problem. Now, did that get you all excited concerning the prospect of getting your shopper to purchase one so that they’d keep motivated and on observe to succeed in their health targets?
Effectively … you would possibly wish to maintain off that thought for a short while.
Sure, health wearables can present invaluable well being insights and, thus, function a motivating issue. However they’re additionally plagued with accuracy and psychological well-being points. So, right here’s a deep dive into the professionals and cons of wearable health know-how—structured round their options—that’ll aid you determine if it’s appropriate to your shopper.
Each day Step Rely
You are probably no stranger to the well being advantages sustaining a excessive degree of non-exercise exercise thermogenesis (NEAT) can carry to your shopper: much less danger of metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular occasions, and loss of life from all causes are just some examples.
The one downside? With “work-from-home” nonetheless the default association, your shopper will probably spend the larger a part of their days inactive.
That’s the place wearable health know-how is available in.
Whereas your shopper could suspect that they’re usually inactive all through the day, seeing the precise variety of steps they take from a full day of staying in (e.g., 500) can actually encourage them into getting off their sofa and hitting the advisable 10,000 to 12,000 steps a day.
Nevertheless, this additionally brings up a con of utilizing health wearables: They’re recognized to undercount, or arguably worse, overcount the variety of steps a shopper takes in a day.
Smartwatches and exercise trackers use movement sensors to find out step depend.
Sadly, that additionally signifies that they’re susceptible to registering steps in error from refined actions (e.g., washing palms, getting ready meals, or utilizing the pc mouse) and even vibrations that have an effect on the physique (e.g., from driving in a automobile).
Listed below are a couple of suggestions that’ll assist your shopper maximize the accuracy of their every day step counts:
- Put on on the nondominant hand: Your shopper’s dominant hand will probably be extra energetic (e.g., stirring a pot or working equipment), so there shall be extra alternatives for errors.
- Guarantee a decent match across the wrist: If the health wearable flops round in your shopper’s wrist, they’re extra prone to get false step counts.
- Log non-active occasions: If attainable, have your shopper log their earlier than and after step counts once they spend an prolonged interval being inactive (e.g., working). They will then deduct the “false steps” from their day’s complete depend.
Many health trackers can even assist your shopper calculate the variety of energy they’ve burned in a day. Imaginably, this will help them get a greater sense of their calorie stability—which is especially vital for shoppers trying to drop extra pounds.
A disclaimer, although: Exercise trackers and smartwatches are notoriously inaccurate at counting energy burned throughout train and all through the day.
In keeping with a sequence of research from 2017, almost all health wearable units concerned (together with FitBit Surge, Apple Watch, and the Microsoft Band) hovered round a 25% margin of error when counting energy burned.
To place that into perspective, a 25% margin of error signifies that your shopper solely burned 2,000 energy—despite the fact that their exercise tracker (or smartwatch) tells them that they’ve burned 2,500 energy.
As a weight administration specialist, let’s say you’ve decided that your shopper would do finest by consuming 300 energy fewer than their complete every day vitality expenditure (TDEE). So, guess how a lot they’re going to eat if their exercise tracker tells them that they’ve burned 2,500 energy? That’s proper: 2,200 energy.
And that, sadly, brings them proper right into a calorie surplus.
Worse nonetheless, analysis additionally exhibits that folks are likely to reward themselves with decadent meals and enormous parts after exercising (notably cardio)—and that they usually eat again all of (if no more than) the energy they burned through the session.
After all, the accuracy of your shopper’s health wearable at estimating vitality expenditure is just about past your management. However what you are able to do, as a substitute, is to have your shopper observe their meals consumption. This decreases the chance of them over-compensating for his or her bodily exercise. And talking of which …
Due to app integrations, many smartwatches will help make nutrition-tracking so simple as tapping a couple of buttons.
An apparent upside related to that is it empowers your shopper with the information of what they’re placing into their our bodies (e.g., variety of energy, macronutrient break up, nutritional vitamins, and minerals), plus how that impacts them.
In flip, this gives your shopper with a transparent thought of the place their “downside areas” are—and the place to make adjustments.
Nevertheless, it is also price noting that discovering a diet app that precisely experiences energy is an arduous job. A 2019 research, discovered that each one 5 evaluated apps (together with MyFitnessPal, Noom Coach, and Lose It!) didn’t symbolize varied dietary info precisely.
Actually, although, this isn’t a dealbreaker.
As an alternative of viewing diet logging as a device to trace absolutely the values of energy, you may—as a substitute—assist your shopper see it as a device to develop wholesome consuming habits (particularly for individuals who’re not trying to drop extra pounds).
Take this 2013 research revealed within the Worldwide Journal of Behavioral Vitamin and Bodily Exercise, for instance.
Researchers discovered that contributors who tracked their eating regimen for eight weeks ate two extra servings of greens a day than they did in the beginning of the research.
Look Out for Indicators of Obsession
Past information accuracy points, although, some of the vital cons to contemplate about health wearables is the specter of a blurring line between the wholesome use of a health tracker and an unhealthy obsession with the numbers.
What begins as a constructive affect on well being can turn out to be a breeding floor for orthorexia.
A number of research have now discovered that using tracker apps (e.g., calorie-counter apps) could possibly be linked to disordered consuming. That is why it’s best to keep away from recommending health wearables for any shopper who has a historical past of consuming problems.
Additionally, make sure you look out for unhealthy behaviors in shoppers who have already got a health tracker.
Do they get anxious once they fail to burn the identical variety of energy they did within the earlier session? Are they making drastic adjustments to their train routine (e.g., 5 cardio periods in every week) to extend their calorie burn?
If that’s the case, you would possibly wish to get them to take off their health wearables.
And, after all, a a lot better possibility can be to encourage them to search skilled assist—as a result of, usually, the belongings you see your shopper doing are simply the signs of one thing deeper (e.g., an unhealthy relationship with meals).
Earlier than getting your shoppers to hop on the health wearables development, it’s important to ask, “why do they want one?” and “how are they utilizing it?” An exercise tracker or smartwatch is usually a useful device to assist your shopper find out about their every day exercise ranges, diet standing, and extra.
But when utilized in an obsessive method to realize “absolute management” over varied elements of their every day life, it might find yourself doing extra hurt than good.
That’s why it’s best to at all times undergo the method of weighing the professionals and cons to your shoppers. That method, they’ll make an knowledgeable choice for themselves.