Wearable technology is the ultimate in mobile gadgetry. From smartwatches to fitness trackers, wearable technology aims to help us manage our busy lives and stay connected to the things we value.
More than half of men say they plan to purchase wearable technology in the next five years. If you’re one of them, why not choose a device that can help you reach your fitness goals? While a wearable gadget won’t do the work for you, it can be a valuable tool for improving men’s health care, Portland fitness experts say.
Because there’s such a wide variety of these tools available, it’s best to start by identifying your primary goal and go from there.
Goal: Overall fitness
Whether you’re training for your next sports challenge or simply trying to get the recommended amount of exercise, Fitness trackers can help by monitoring everything from steps walked and floors climbed to heartbeats per minute and active minutes per day. You can use this information to structure your workouts, ensure optimal performance and track your overall activity level.
The popularity of these wearable gadgets has exploded. One in 10 American adults owns a fitness tracker, and another 12 percent plan on buying one in the next year. Researchers estimate nearly half the population will be wearing one by 2020.
Most fitness trackers are designed to wear on the wrist or as a clip-on. Of the ample options available, the Fitbit Charge HR and the Jawbone UP are the most commonly touted wristbands for 2015. Since there’s no single tracker that monitors absolutely everything, consumers must choose based on the features that are most important to them. In a survey of Forbes readers, most said they prefer a wristband design, and their must-haves included the ability to accurately count and display steps and distance. They ranked features such as heart rate and sleep monitoring as desirable but less important.
Goal: Better sleep
Are you getting enough rest? More than 70 million Americans suffer from wakefulness and sleep disorders, which are especially prevalent in men.
A wearable sleep monitor can help by tracking your breathing patterns, chest movements and environmental conditions to help you understand what’s affecting your sleep patterns. A 2015 winner of the International Consumer Electronics Show’s Innovations award, the S+ Sleep Tracker delivers the data to an app on your smartphone, where you can find information on how to improve your sleep.
Goal: Less stress
We already know stress is a killer. Yet it seems our jobs and lives just keep getting more and more stressful. One in five Americans experience extreme stress, which can include shaking and heart palpitations, and 44 percent say they feel more stressed than they did five years ago.
Stress is the root cause of more than half of all human illness and disease—and staving it off can be as simple as remembering to breathe. Spire, a wearable stress monitor, measures your breathing patterns and notifies you when it’s time to do exactly that. You can even set up reminders to take deep breaths throughout the day to keep you focused.
Goal: Healthy diet
In a supersized world, it’s easy to lose track of how much you’re eating each day. Americans consume several hundred more calories per day then we did 60 years ago. One way to wrestle portion sizes back under control is to count bites.
The watch-like Bite Counter tracks your wrist motions to count the number of bites you take per day. Try to cheat, and it sounds an alarm. Not only does this device know when you’ve taken a bite versus a swig, it even estimates your caloric intake based on your typical diet.
Technology doesn’t always impact us for the better, but wearable fitness devices can help men harness it to achieve their health goals. When it comes to men’s health care, Portland doctors encourage finding a strategy and tools that work for you.