What's the Deal with Wearables?
Wearable Technology, or “wearables” for short, is probably the biggest, buzziest trend in the health and wellness industry today, and for good reason.
Wearables give consumers the power to take control of their health and fitness in a way that was previously impossible (or, at the very least, inconvenient). Now, you can have a device that tracks your steps, counts your calories, records your sleep habits, improves your posture, re-centers your mind, helps you to visualize your menstrual cycle, and much more, all in the palm of your hand (literally!)
Wearables make health knowledge accessible to the masses, which - coupled with the sharing-culture created by social media - has brought about a fitness, health and wellness Renaissance. Wearables have made healthy living a mainstream topic. But not all wearables are created equally. Below is a handy guide to help you better understand the types of wearables you should invest in based on your goals, and which ones you should skip.
If your goal is to lose weight:
The wearables that best suit your goals are going to help you track what you are eating as well the number of calories you have burned during your workouts, to ensure you have the correct energy balance. You also might be interested in tracking things like water intake, body measurements, and sleep (more on that later)
To track fitness levels and calories you’ve burned
Fitbit Charge 2 - Fitbit has continually established itself as the leading brand of fitness tracker technology, and this particular tracker allows you to track everything from: heart rate, activity type, fitness level, sleep tracking, and more. It also comes with some added benefits such as call, text and calendar alerts, guided breathing sessions, the customizable style options.
To track what you are eating
Unfortunately, technology hasn’t quite made it to a wearable solution for food tracking, but phone apps, such as MyFitnessPal and Lose It! allow you to log what you are eating. They easily integrate with wearables such as the FitBit, to give you a comprehensive understanding of your caloric intake and energy expenditure.
To track how much water you’ve consumed
Again, not exactly a wearable, but a water bottle (which for me, might as well be a wearable, since I have water by my side 24/7). The Hidrate Spark 2.0 has flashing lights that remind you when to drink and celebrate your achievements when you’ve hit your daily goal. It also has a corresponding app that allows you to track your water intake over time and set consumption goals.
To track body measurements
Like a Glove sends you a pair of shorts that wear, which give you an accurate readout of your body composition measurements. This allows you to track the changes within your body as you lose fat and develop muscle, which a scale may not accurately convey. They also promise that the product will help you find the right pair of jeans every time, by comparing your measurements to their database including hundreds of brands .
DON’T spend the money on
LVL and GoBe2 - LVL is a wearable tracker, similar to a fitbit that measures hydration levels. But don’t hold your breath, production of this product has been delayed several times, angering many customers waiting to receive their purchase. GoBe2 aims to measure calorie intake through skin glucose levels, however according to several sources, their technology does not seem to be based in science. These apps may sound cool, but there is a lot of controversy surrounding these two particular items. Save your money. Note: Let this serve as a reminder to always do your research before making a purchase. Sites like The Medical Futurist, Wareable, and Gadgets and Wearables are here to help.
If your goal is to improve your fitness performance:
If you have performance goals, such as an upcoming race or a fitness competition, the trackers best suited for your goals might include
To track your run
Under Armour HOVR Phantom Connected shoe (available for Men and Women) include a fitness tracker right in the sole. The shoe tracks and analyzes run metrics, so you know exactly where you need to improve. This shoe is perfect for those that want the functionality of a fitness tracker without having something on your wrist.
The Motiv Ring is another gadget for those that do not like the feeling of the wrist trackers. Motiv comes in the form of a small, fashionable ring and tracks heart rate, activity (level, intensity, time and distance), sleep and more.
To track how much you’ve lifted
Strenx by GymWatch is an arm and/or leg band that tracks your movements and gives you a better understanding of the movement you are performing. It is specifically for those who prefer weightlifting to cardio, or want strength training data to match the data precision of other more cardio-focused trackers. Other wearables for strength-based training include: Moov and Beast.
If your goal is to sleep better:
At this point, we’ve all heard about how important sleep is to our health and wellness. More sleep can help you regulate your body weight, your mental state, and improve your fitness performance. Yet, still many of us do not get enough sleep. It is no wonder then that so many companies are hopping on board the wearable sleep tracking device bandwagon. Aside from the aforementioned fitness trackers, which also record sleep habits, here is one to keep your eyes open (or closed) for:
Sleep Shepherd is an eye mask that measures brain waves to give you an accurate measurement of your sleeping habits.The Sleep Shepherd claims to actively improve your sleep and also wakes you up gradually.
If your goal is to prioritize mental health:
A few interesting wearables worth a try that put mental health first include:
Pip is a small pebble-like tracker that you hold between your thumb and forefinger that accurately measures stress levels. it guides you through an activity on your phone that gradually reduces stress and helps bring you back to productivity.
Muse is a meditation headband. By connecting your headband the Muse app, you can partake in guided meditations. The app tracks your brain signals and gives you a readout of brain activity, which you can see improve over time as your focus improves.
Other wearables worth mentioning:
A few other wearables making a splash within the general health and wellness community these days include:
Ava is a fertility tracker making waves in the field of women health. This fertility tracker goes a step beyond fertility apps by tracking important biometrics while you sleep such as body temperature, breathing, sleep and pulse.
Upright Go is a posture correcting training tool. It sticks to your upper back and vibrates when you slouch. The information about your posture throughout the day is stored in an app
Do you have any wearable tech that you can’t live without? Let us know below in the comments!