The rising demand to see outcomes and health results through wearable technology is rapidly increasing. Many leading companies in the electronics industry have ventured in one way or the other into adding performance and fitness data to their consumer products. But are they trustworthy enough to rely fully on it?
The so-called wearables industry is growing by leaps and bounds as new findings and advances in research steadfastly make it into the market. From step counters to heart-rate monitors, synching your daily activity – be it exercise or non-exercise related – is becoming the norm. Unfortunately, the rise in purchases of primary watches has not yet led to an incremental change in movement among humanity.
Owning a device measuring your caloric burn or steps still is seen more as a fashion statement rather than a functional measure of health and wellness success.
But how reliable are these devices? As personal fitness trainers and performance coaches, Aspire’s team of personal fitness trainers and coaches carry one or more digital devices with them to measure any outcome. Both indicators as whether our achieved goals are met as well as relatively understanding our daily expenditure, the accuracy of these wearables remains somewhere hovering in the middle.
The upgrades and updates do show significant improvements on so many levels, as companies tend to gather data from across the globe to ascertain new benchmarks and more precise data to give you – the consumer – an even more reliable picture of the movement, sleep, calories burnt, or the number of stairs you climbed. With reminders and intricate graphics, society does have access to its statistics and thus, can fine-tune when needed.
However, we still know that, for example, burned calories during an exercise are all based on generic data based on how you are setting the parameters in your wearable. To gain a concise number on how many calories you used up, the deviation is often plus or minus 30%. Numerous Pubmed studies report consistently that wearables are one of the least reliable sources of results. After all, your watch remains solidly tied to your wrist and has no point of reference as to how your body uses those calories.
The latest developments in measuring performance are now making their foray into the consumer market. Initially designed for diabetes patients, Continuous Glucose Monitors (CGM) can identify which foods can cause large spikes of blood sugar, or give you the so-called sugar crash. Attached to your upper arm, these devices give the user real-time feedback on how your blood sugar reacts to not only food but also when you are lifting heavy or walking 10,000 steps a day.
We at Aspire may recommend certain wearables, and the connected software that comes with them, to gain an insight into the how and what, however, we hardly make conclusions from these. Our bodies respond differently when we do not have a proper night’s sleep, are under stress, or are affected by influences in our direct environment.
As for a step counter in hitting your daily goals, these wearables definitely have found a place in our fitness programming and holistic coaching approach.