For the more than one-third of American adults who are obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, strapping on a wearable device could be a meaningful first step in taking control of health and longevity, and preventing life-threatening conditions such as cancer and heart disease. Wearable devices that are powered by Microchip technology deliver personalized data to the wearer and alert users of important health information, such as physical activity and heart rate.
Research and advisory firm Gartner reports wearable devices sales will have grown by more than 18% in 2016, as people crave the ability to use technology to optimizeall aspects of their lives. Wearables with functionality that allow users to input nutritional intake and get fit socially with friends provide extra advantages. If you’re considering using a wearable to help you achieve your fitness goals, here are four benefits wearables provide.
1. Get a Clearer Fitness Picture
You may think that you’re more active than you actually are, but that walk to the bagel shop isn’t as effective as you think. Sedentary lifestyles are particularly dangerous to one’s health, as the Mayo Clinic reports sitting down for prolonged periods of time increases risk of death, heart attack, and chest pain. While you may work out regularly, if you work a job where you are sitting for long periods of time, negative effects can still occur.
Some wearable devices, like Fitbit, have built-in alerts to remind users to get up and get moving. By tracking your activity over time, you can see when you are most likely to be inactive and proactively take breaks for walks, or swap an elevator ride for a climb up the stairs. Having a visual representation of your fitness helps key you in to where you can make small improvements that add up.
2. Make Your Fitness a Social Activity
Wearable devices that feature a social aspect—ones where you can connect with other wearers to compete and cheer each other on as you work toward fitness goals—are very powerful. The American Psychological Association reports psychological research supports the effectiveness of taking a group approach to fitness, as support makes it easier for those trying to lose weight to stay motivated and stick to a fitness plan. Sharing your goals with others helps you stay accountable, especially when wearable data is transparent to other contacts.
From steps taken, to pounds lost, to minutes being active, there are many fitness factors that can be compared by using data from wearable devices. Some wearable devices even allow participants to set up challenges with ease. A little friendly competition makes being fit more fun, while positive reinforcement helps wearers maintain momentum. If you have friends who also use wearables, you can enlist them as fitness buddies, where you check in with each other and encourage each other to keep improving on your fitness goals.
3. Optimize Your Gym Time
Whether you’re working with a trainer at a gym or are exploring the myriad options you have at the gym to build muscle and lose fat, a wearable acts as digital trainer support to alert you to calories burned while holding you accountable.
Trainers who require their clients to keep food and exercise logs will get a crystal-clear picture of what exactly the wearer is doing. Instead of clients having to write down activity in a journal that might get lost or damaged, a wearable device and app maintains an access-from-anywhere digital log that also provides more accurate calorie counts for food intake.
Those who have busy schedules will also appreciate the rich fitness data wearables provide in helping wearers become clued in to the most effective exercises. Wearable data that shows the user weight fluctuation paired with the exercises done during that period helps users vary their routines, improve their workouts, and do the exercises that help them stay the fittest. While a wearer may have sworn cycling was the most effective workout for their body type, a wearable may clue them in to the fact rowing provides far more benefits.
4. Be More Conscious in Your Food Intake
Food intake often makes a greater impact on weight loss than exercise does, and research shows keeping an accurate log of consumption helps people lose more weight. The University of Pittsburgh Diabetes Prevention Support Center reports individuals who keep track of the food they eat and drinks they consume each day lose twice as much weight as those who do not. Frequency of logs also correlates with weight loss.
Wearable devices provide wearers with an accurate amount of calories they have burned through exercise, and how many they should consume if they want to stay on track with their fitness goals. By using a wearable app that ties this data in with a food log, wearers see how their food choices affect their weight, and can start to see patterns in types of food consumed with weight fluctuation.
Sharing a wearable food log with friends can also reinforce the social component that helps users alert each other to where healthier choices could have been made, and encourage each other to make those choices in the future.
From becoming more active at more moments throughout the day, to getting more realistic about food portion sizes and calories consumed, a wearable device can provide users with the information they need to improve their lifestyles. And, getting social support from other wearable users adds a positive emotional layer to becoming fit, which reinforces working toward goals and improves attitudes toward health.
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