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 rely. However now? Expertise has superior so considerably that there are two separate classes of wearables:
- “Conventional” health trackers: Able to monitoring exercise, steps, pace, sleep, coronary heart fee, blood strain, 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 in order that they’d keep motivated and on monitor to achieve their health objectives?
Properly … you would possibly need to maintain off that thought for a short while.
Sure, health wearables can present helpful 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 show you how to determine if it’s appropriate to your shopper.
Each day Step Rely
You are seemingly no stranger to the well being advantages sustaining a excessive degree of non-exercise exercise thermogenesis (NEAT) can deliver to your shopper: much less danger of metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular occasions, and demise from all causes are just some examples.
The one drawback? With “work-from-home” nonetheless the default association, your shopper will seemingly spend the better a part of their days inactive.
That’s the place wearable health know-how is available in.
Whereas your shopper might 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 really encourage them into getting off their sofa and hitting the really helpful 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 rely.
Sadly, that additionally signifies that they’re vulnerable 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 using in a automobile).
Listed below are a number of ideas that’ll assist your shopper maximize the accuracy of their day by day step counts:
- Put on on the nondominant hand: Your shopper’s dominant hand will seemingly be extra lively (e.g., stirring a pot or working equipment), so there shall be extra alternatives for errors.
- Guarantee a good 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 instances: If potential, have your shopper log their earlier than and after step counts once they spend an prolonged interval being inactive (e.g., working). They’ll then deduct the “false steps” from their day’s complete rely.
Many health trackers also can assist your shopper calculate the variety of energy they’ve burned in a day. Imaginably, this may also help them get a greater sense of their calorie steadiness—which is especially essential for purchasers trying to reduce weight.
A disclaimer, although: Exercise trackers and smartwatches are notoriously inaccurate at counting energy burned throughout train and all through the day.
In response to a sequence of research from 2017, almost all health wearable gadgets 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—although 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 day by 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 reveals that individuals are inclined to reward themselves with decadent meals and enormous parts after exercising (notably cardio)—and that they typically 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 an alternative, is to have your shopper monitor their meals consumption. This decreases the probability of them over-compensating for his or her bodily exercise. And talking of which …
Because of app integrations, many smartwatches may also help make nutrition-tracking so simple as tapping a number 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 cut up, nutritional vitamins, and minerals), plus how that impacts them.
In flip, this supplies your shopper with a transparent concept of the place their “drawback areas” are—and the place to make adjustments.
Nevertheless, it is also value noting that discovering a diet app that precisely experiences energy is an arduous process. A 2019 examine, discovered that every one 5 evaluated apps (together with MyFitnessPal, Noom Coach, and Lose It!) didn’t characterize numerous dietary data precisely.
Actually, although, this isn’t a dealbreaker.
As a substitute of viewing diet logging as a software to trace absolutely the values of energy, you possibly can—as an alternative—assist your shopper see it as a software to develop wholesome consuming habits (particularly for many who’re not trying to reduce weight).
Take this 2013 examine printed within the Worldwide Journal of Behavioral Diet and Bodily Exercise, for instance.
Researchers discovered that individuals who tracked their food regimen for eight weeks ate two extra servings of greens a day than they did in the beginning of the examine.
Look Out for Indicators of Obsession
Past information accuracy points, although, probably the most 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 develop into a breeding floor for orthorexia.
A number of research have now discovered that the usage of tracker apps (e.g., calorie-counter apps) could possibly be linked to disordered consuming. That is why it is best to keep away from recommending health wearables for any shopper who has a historical past of consuming issues.
Additionally, be sure you look out for unhealthy behaviors in purchasers 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?
In that case, you would possibly need to get them to take off their health wearables.
And, in fact, a significantly better choice could be to encourage them to search skilled assist—as a result of, typically, the stuff you see your shopper doing are simply the signs of one thing deeper (e.g., an unhealthy relationship with meals).
Earlier than getting your purchasers 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 could be a useful software to assist your shopper find out about their day by day exercise ranges, diet standing, and extra.
But when utilized in an obsessive method to achieve “absolute management” over numerous features of their day by day life, it may find yourself doing extra hurt than good.
That’s why it is best to at all times undergo the method of weighing the professionals and cons to your purchasers. That means, they’ll make an knowledgeable resolution for themselves.