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Can They Improve Your Client’s Health?

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It wasn’t all that way back when all “wearable fitness technology” meant was a easy pedometer—succesful solely of measuring a person’s step depend. But now? Technology has superior so considerably that there are two separate classes of wearables:

  • “Traditional” fitness trackers: Capable of monitoring exercise, steps, pace, sleep, coronary heart charge, blood stress, and respiratory.
  • Smartwatches: Beyond monitoring health and fitness knowledge, smartwatches additionally supply smartphone options, like texting, calling, and different app integrations.

As such, considering of one thing fitness wearables can’t do between the 2 classes is actually a problem. Now, did that get you all excited in regards to the prospect of getting your consumer to purchase one so that they’d stay motivated and on track to reach their fitness goals?

Well … you may need to maintain off that thought for a short time.

Yes, fitness wearables can present helpful health insights and, thus, function a motivating issue. But 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 fitness know-how—structured round their options—that’ll allow you to resolve if it’s appropriate to your consumer.  

 

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Daily Step Count

You’re seemingly no stranger to the health advantages sustaining a excessive stage of non-exercise exercise thermogenesis (NEAT) can deliver to your consumer: much less danger of metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular occasions, and dying from all causes are just a few examples.

The solely drawback? With “work-from-home” nonetheless the default association, your consumer will seemingly spend the larger a part of their days inactive.

That’s the place wearable fitness know-how is available in.

While your consumer could 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.

However, this additionally brings up a con of utilizing fitness wearables: They’re identified to undercount, or arguably worse, overcount the number of steps a consumer takes in a day.

Smartwatches and exercise trackers use movement sensors to find out step depend.

Unfortunately, that additionally implies that they’re vulnerable to registering steps in error from refined actions (e.g., washing fingers, getting ready food, or utilizing the pc mouse) and even vibrations that have an effect on the body (e.g., from using in a automotive).

Here are a number of tips that’ll assist your consumer maximize the accuracy of their day by day step counts:

  • Wear on the nondominant hand: Your consumer’s dominant hand will seemingly be extra lively (e.g., stirring a pot or working equipment), so there shall be extra alternatives for errors.
  • Ensure a good match across the wrist: If the fitness wearable flops round in your consumer’s wrist, they’re extra more likely to get false step counts.
  • Log non-active instances: If attainable, have your consumer log their earlier than and after step counts after they spend an prolonged interval being inactive (e.g., working). They can then deduct the “false steps” from their day’s complete depend.

Energy Expenditure 

Many fitness trackers may assist your consumer calculate the variety of energy they’ve burned in a day. Imaginably, this may help them get a greater sense of their calorie stability—which is especially essential for shoppers seeking to lose weight.

A disclaimer, although: Activity trackers and smartwatches are notoriously inaccurate at counting energy burned throughout exercise and all through the day.

According to a series of studies from 2017, practically all fitness 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 put that into perspective, a 25% margin of error implies that your consumer solely burned 2,000 energy—despite the fact that their exercise tracker (or smartwatch) tells them that they’ve burned 2,500 energy.

As a weight management specialist, let’s say you’ve decided that your consumer would do greatest by eating 300 energy fewer than their complete day by day power 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, research additionally exhibits that individuals are inclined to reward themselves with decadent meals and enormous parts after exercising (significantly cardio)—and that they typically eat again all of (if no more than) the energy they burned in the course of the session.

Of course, the accuracy of your consumer’s fitness wearable at estimating power expenditure is just about past your management. But what you are able to do, as a substitute, is to have your consumer monitor their food consumption. This decreases the probability of them over-compensating for his or her bodily exercise. And talking of which …

Calorie Intake

Thanks to app integrations, many smartwatches may help make nutrition-tracking so simple as tapping a number of buttons.

An apparent upside related to that is it empowers your consumer with the data of what they’re placing into their our bodies (e.g., variety of energy, macronutrient cut up, nutritional vitamins, and minerals), plus how that affects them.

In flip, this supplies your consumer with a transparent thought of the place their “problem areas” are—and the place to make adjustments.

However, it is also price noting that discovering a nutrition app that precisely studies energy is an arduous process. A 2019 study, discovered that each one 5 evaluated apps (together with MyFitnessPal, Noom Coach, and Lose It!) didn’t signify varied dietary info precisely.

Honestly, although, this isn’t a dealbreaker.

Instead of viewing nutrition logging as a instrument to trace absolutely the values of energy, you might—as a substitute—assist your consumer see it as a instrument to develop healthy eating habits (particularly for individuals who’re not seeking to lose weight). 

Take this 2013 study revealed within the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, for instance.

Researchers discovered that individuals who tracked their weight loss plan for eight weeks ate two extra servings of greens a day than they did initially of the examine.

Look Out for Signs of Obsession

Beyond knowledge accuracy points, although, one of the crucial vital cons to contemplate about fitness wearables is the specter of a blurring line between the healthy use of a fitness tracker and an unhealthy obsession with the numbers.

What begins as a constructive affect on health can turn into a breeding floor for orthorexia. 

Several studies have now discovered that the usage of tracker apps (e.g., calorie-counter apps) might be linked to disordered eating. That’s why it is best to keep away from recommending fitness wearables for any consumer who has a historical past of eating problems.

Also, make sure to look out for unhealthy behaviors in shoppers who have already got a fitness tracker.

Do they get anxious after they fail to burn the identical variety of energy they did within the earlier session? Are they making drastic adjustments to their exercise routine (e.g., 5 cardio periods in per week) to extend their calorie burn?

If so, you may need to get them to take off their fitness wearables.

And, after all, a significantly better choice can be to encourage them to seek professional help—as a result of, typically, the stuff you see your consumer doing are simply the signs of one thing deeper (e.g., an unhealthy relationship with food).

Takeaway

Before getting your shoppers to hop on the fitness wearables development, it’s essential to ask, “why do they need one?” and “how are they using it?” An exercise tracker or smartwatch generally is a useful instrument to assist your consumer study their day by day exercise ranges, nutrition standing, and extra.

But if utilized in an obsessive method to achieve “absolute control” over varied points of their day by day life, it may find yourself doing extra hurt than good.

That’s why it is best to all the time undergo the method of weighing the professionals and cons to your shoppers. That manner, they’ll make an knowledgeable choice for themselves.

 

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