Written by Myles Spar
Posted on: September 4, 2018
There’s a reason the wearable tech business is booming. Devices like fitness trackers and smart watches can be supremely effective tools for improving your health. What makes them so great? First and foremost, they help hold you accountable, which—as I write about here— is crucial for increasing your odds of achieving your goals. It’s one thing to say you want to get more exercise, it’s another thing to set an intention to walk 10,000 steps per day and wear a device that counts every step. Today’s fitness wearables often feature sensitive, accurate heart rate monitors to ensure that when you do exercise, you’re exerting enough effort to make it worth your while. Many also track sleep, telling you not just how long but how well you slept. Some wearables are even designed to help you manage stress and anxiety, letting you know when your heart rate gets too high so you can pull back and calm down. Here are four of the best wearable tech devices and some tips for figuring out which one is right for you.
Fitbit Alta allows you to track your steps, distance, calories burned, active minutes, hourly activity, and stationary time. It helps keep you active throughout the day by giving you friendly reminders to move (and cheering you on when you do). Fitbit Alta also automatically recognizes and records workouts for you, so you can keep track of your exercise without ever pushing a button or using a separate fitness app. At night, Fitbit Alta tracks how long and how well you sleep, allowing you to see patterns in your sleep habits and adjust accordingly. It even has a silent, vibrating alarm to gently wake you in the morning. Personally, I’ve had some issues with the reliability of the sleep tracking, so if that’s your main area of concern, I’d go with one of the other alternatives below.
With built-in cellular, GPS, and altimeter, Apple Watch Nike+ has all the features you need to track your fitness – plus all the other great Apple watch features. You can even pair your watch wirelessly with compatible gym equipment. This watch features intelligent activity tracking—it tracks all the ways you move throughout the day, whether you’re biking to work, doing cartwheels with the kids, or hitting the gym. It also has three “activity rings” (Move, Exercise, Stand) that you can work toward completing every day. And, unlike the Fitbit Alta, Apple Watch Nike+ monitors your resting, walking, and workout recovery heart rate.
With more than 15 preloaded sports apps, the Garmin Vívoactive 3 lets you choose how you like to get fit. Built-in GPS records the distance, pace, location, and more for your outdoor activities. And with help from Elevate wrist-based heart rate technology, this watch allows you to monitor key aspects of your fitness and stress to show how your body responds under various circumstances. For example, it’s able to estimate your VO2 max and fitness age, two indicators of physical fitness that can often improve over time with regular exercise. It also tracks your heart rate variability (HRV), which is used to calculate and track your stress level.
4. Oura Ring
Although it’s one of the smallest fitness trackers available, the Oura Ring doesn’t sacrifice functionality for size—it is primarily meant to track sleep, but it also monitors heart rate and heart rate variability, the best objective measure of stress. Many of my patients have sleep issues, and this can help you monitor which interventions you are trying are actually working. Worried about about proper fit? The company allows you to try the ring on at home before you buy.
Now that you know a bit more about some of the best wearable tech devices, how do you choose which one is right for you? You’ll want to consider price, of course, but also think about appearance. If you’re a minimalist, already have a watch you love, or want to avoid wearing anything around your wrist, the Oura Ring could be your best bet. If you’re an athlete who’s used a Garmin before, you may want to go with the brand you know. And Apple enthusiasts might be tempted by the company’s high-tech smartwatch. Whatever you choose, remember that a fitness tracker may be just the motivator you need to help you achieve your goals. See my post here for more on the importance of challenging yourself, and contact Tack180 today to find out how we can help you reach your peak.
About Myles Spar, MD
Myles Spar, MD, MPH is board-certified in Internal Medicine and in Integrative Medicine. As a clinician, teacher and researcher on faculty of two major medical centers, he has led the charge for a more proactive, holistic and personalized approach to care that focuses on cutting edge technology and preventative care. Dr. Spar has traveled with the NBA, presented a TEDx Talk, appeared on Dr. Oz, and been featured in publications such as the Men’s Journal and the Los Angeles Times.