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Activity Trackers

by in Medical Pop Culture February 23, 2015

If you want to track your calories, analyze your sleep, or check the number of steps you take in a day, you have probably considered a wearable activity tracker at some point. Even if you don’t own a piece of wearable technology – a smart device worn on the wrist or clothing- you have probably seen one. These activity trackers have taken the world by storm with their ability to measure key health factors.

The most popular and well known wearables are the FitBit, Jawbone UP, and Nike+. Many people also make use of their smart watches for the same purpose, too. 71% of Americans who have a wearable claim the technology has improved their health -this fad may have potential! Most models on the market can track your heart rate, calories, sleep patterns, and steps taken, while some of the more expensive models have GPS, text messaging, email, and blood oxygen monitors. A large portion of these also have Bluetooth so you can connect your cellphone for visual tracking and long-term goal setting. WARNING: Do not let the extra features stray you from the reason you bought a wearable in the first place. These devices were intended for weight loss, physical fitness, or stress management and even the basic wearable has all those capabilities. Though, you may need a new cable to charge them after a while, especially if you use these to monitor your sleep. Mobile Mob sells cables that will be long enough for most of the popular devices, and you can check other retailers too.

It is safe to say 2015 is going to be the biggest year for these activity trackers and smart devices, as 68.1 million are projected to be sold by the end of the year. The challenge with these is connecting our fixation of recording information and changing our behavior. According to The Journal of the American Medical Association, linking the gap between the data and our behavior determines whether or not your money is well spent. When you have your plan of action and health goals already, using the wearable device as a motivating factor and not the solution is going to be your best bet. These devices make you more aware of your food intake when you have to actually log the calories or they make you take that extra walk at night to reach your step goals for the day. Simply, the value comes from the information from the device and what you decide to do with it.

The future for wearables is looking to reach high levels with new technologies still developing. Hopefully in the near future, diabetics will be able to check their blood sugar levels through their skin without pricking themselves multiple times a day. Also, this year Apple Inc. is releasing their first wearable that will include a built-in health coach. Wearable activity trackers have so much potential; however, it is important to remember that all of these fancy features do not change the fact that, just like a gym membership, it only works if you use it.

If you would like more information about how you can get started with a medically-managed exercise routine, contact our office by calling 865.524.1234. Many of our staff members use wearables in and out of the office and we can help you set up a workout routine that includes your wearable.

-Written by Audrey Springer, CTA, CXT