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? Know-how has superior so considerably that there are two separate classes of wearables:
- “Conventional” health trackers: Able to monitoring exercise, steps, velocity, sleep, coronary heart charge, blood strain, and respiration.
- Smartwatches: Past monitoring well being and health knowledge, smartwatches additionally supply 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 truthfully a problem. Now, did that get you all excited in regards to the prospect of getting your shopper to purchase one so that they’d keep motivated and on observe to succeed in their health targets?
Properly … you would possibly wish to maintain off that thought for a short while.
Sure, health wearables can present precious 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 make it easier to resolve if it’s appropriate to your shopper.
Each day Step Rely
You’re probably no stranger to the well being advantages sustaining a excessive stage of non-exercise exercise thermogenesis (NEAT) can carry 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 probably spend the better 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 typically 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 identified 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 implies 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 automotive).
Listed below are a couple of suggestions that’ll assist your shopper maximize the accuracy of their each day step counts:
- Put on on the nondominant hand: Your shopper’s dominant hand will probably be extra lively (e.g., stirring a pot or working equipment), so there might 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 more likely 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’ll then deduct the “false steps” from their day’s complete rely.
Many health trackers may also 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 stability—which is especially essential for purchasers trying to drop pounds.
A disclaimer, although: Exercise trackers and smartwatches are notoriously inaccurate at counting energy burned throughout train and all through the day.
Based on a collection 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 implies that your shopper solely burned 2,000 energy—though 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 greatest by consuming 300 energy fewer than their complete each 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 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 in the course of the session.
In fact, 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 observe their meals consumption. This decreases the chance 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 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 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’s additionally price noting that discovering a vitamin 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!) did not signify varied dietary data precisely.
Truthfully, although, this isn’t a dealbreaker.
As an alternative of viewing vitamin logging as a software to trace absolutely the values of energy, you may—as an alternative—assist your shopper see it as a software to develop wholesome consuming habits (particularly for individuals who’re not trying to drop pounds).
Take this 2013 research printed within the Worldwide Journal of Behavioral Vitamin and Bodily Exercise, for instance.
Researchers discovered that members who tracked their weight loss plan for eight weeks ate two extra servings of greens a day than they did originally of the research.
Look Out for Indicators of Obsession
Past knowledge accuracy points, although, probably the most crucial 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 optimistic affect on well being can grow to be a breeding floor for orthorexia.
A number of research have now discovered that using tracker apps (e.g., calorie-counter apps) might be linked to disordered consuming. That’s why you need to keep away from recommending health wearables for any shopper who has a historical past of consuming issues.
Additionally, make sure to 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 classes in per 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 significantly better possibility can be to encourage them to hunt skilled assist—as a result of, usually, 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 pattern, it’s important to ask, “why do they want one?” and “how are they utilizing it?” An exercise tracker or smartwatch generally is a useful software to assist your shopper study their each day exercise ranges, vitamin standing, and extra.
But when utilized in an obsessive method to realize “absolute management” over varied facets of their each day life, it might find yourself doing extra hurt than good.
That’s why you need to at all times undergo the method of weighing the professionals and cons to your purchasers. That approach, they’ll make an knowledgeable determination for themselves.