Gone are the days when self-care was thought of as some elusive activity, available only to those with the ‘means’ to enjoy. Fast-forward to current day and self-care is now something that is considered a daily part of our lives: taking on the form of a weekly massage or time with friends, a shopping trip as well as a myriad of ways to unwind. In this week’s blog, we want to explore wearable health tech as a form of self-care. Wearable technology are electronic devices that can be worn on the body – very close to the skin- where they collect and send important medical (and biomedical) as well as activity (especially exercise) data to a database and can be viewed on a smartphone app.

With the explosion of these gadgets in the marketplace, consumers can monitor their heart rate, track their sleep, enjoy meditation, and stress relieving practices, track menstrual and fertility cycles, measure their activity levels and even engage in challenges with friends, among others. Armed with this information, people are becoming more informed about how their bodies work, what steps they need to take to improve the metrics they are most concerned about (be it sleep quality or movement, for example) and with these preventative measures, they are more likely to make better choices for their health. Let’s look at a few of these wearable tech devices that many are talking about these days:

The Oura Ring -if you haven’t heard about the oura ring, where have you been? This smart ring ‘translates your body’s signals’ to help you perform at your optimal level. Oura is equipped with real-time heart monitoring, sleep detection, activity monitoring, temperature sensors and is compatible with Apple Health and Google Fit. This way it’s able to coalesce all your health metrics on its app for your viewing.  

By collecting data on your length and quality of sleep, activity levels as well as rest times, body stress signals such as temperature and heart rate variability (HRV), you are assigned a Readiness Score each day. This score (from 0-100) lets you know how much you can take on for the day and if you should be taking it a little easier and resting because you may be coming down with something. The more you wear your ring, the more it learns about you and is able to offer reliable, tested and sound advice. The ring comes in 4 colors (silver, black, stealth and gold) and has a wedding-band like appearance meant to be worn on the index (preferably), middle or ring finger. It has proven to be a favorite among athletes who are intent on improving their performance with the use of data as well as the average health and fitness enthusiast who is motivated by the information it provides to guide their day-to-day activities.

Ivy Health Tracker by Bellabeat - This one is tech disguised as jewelry or sometimes referred to as the prettiest wearable on the market. Ivy Health Tracker is a beautiful bracelet, with no data display, but instead a charm attached to a band. It is the only health tracker that has been designed and engineered just for women. It provides a wealth of information for women to take charge of their wellness journey. Like most wearables, the tracker monitors heart rate, respiratory rate, activity as well as sleep. Like the oura ring, it calculates a readiness score that helps a woman understand how her sleep as well as previous days’ activities factors into her readiness to take on the day – should she take it a bit easier today, consider taking more time to unwind, incorporate some meditation or perhaps choose a lower intensity activity for working out. What’s even more fascinating is that the tracker provides guidance based on the 4 phases of your menstrual cycle (Period Phase, Follicular Phase, Fertile Window and Luteal Phase) and what activities should be prioritized during those times (sleep time, activity level and quiet time/reflection). The Bellabeats app also overs a wide range of recipes, workouts and meditation for users to round out their wellness experience.

Whoop 4.0 touts itself as the ‘the latest and most advanced fitness and health wearable available’. Worn on the wrist, it collects a variety of metrics such as heart rate, heart-rate variability (HRV), resting heart rate, skin temperature and blood oxygen levels. With this data, Whoop can provide sound health insights to give you a good picture of what is happening in your body. Not only that, but Whoop allows you to export 30-180 days’ worth of your health data trends to a PDF to share with a health care provider, coach etc. When it comes to your activity and training, Whoop serves as a coach in that it accumulates and analyzes all your training activities to build a Strain Score, which helps you determine if you should be going harder or taking things a little easier. When it comes to sleep, similar to other wearables, Whoop tracks your sleep quality and cycle to help figure out your readiness for the day. A pretty cool offering with Whoop is the behavioral journal. It looks at many other lifestyle factors and how they play into your performance, rest and recovery – such as dietary type, caffeine intake, and stress levels among others. It is indeed a highly advanced and enviable wearable to help guide individuals on their health and wellness journey.

These are but a few of the trendy wearable health tech devices on the market today and truly deserve a second look if you’re looking for something new! We are at a time where we have more access to our data and with that, we can be proactive and make decisions that will steer us the right way when it comes to improved health. If that’s not self-care at its finest, then what is? Till next time…


Photo credit: www.ouraring.com

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