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Can wearable technology overhaul your health? ARTICLES, FOOD & HEALTH

The first thing that Pooja Sharma Kaur does right after waking up is check her fitness tracker to map her sleep quality. She preps her breakfast while keying in items from her breakfast into the diet app she uses. She is conscious about her physical activity all day long and on days where the fitness tracker doesn’t meet the 10,000 steps mark, she makes an extra effort to cover it up the next day. Her fitness tracker also maps her heart rate, makes diet and fitness recommendations along with ways she can sleep better.
When Anant Ambani lost tremendous weight recently, he spoke openly about the role of technology in achieving the feat. Let’s accept it, fitness and health are both getting big in the digital world and one can’t afford to ignore its relevance any longer.
Let’s take the case of fitness trackers, which are the latest rage among fitness enthusiasts as well as those wanting to keep their weight in check. Their revenues are doubling because a lot of people are finding the technology interesting as well as useful. And why not? Strap them to your wrist and they can extract a lot of data about you. How many steps you have taken, the distance you have run, how many calories you have burnt, how much you are sleeping, body mass, body weight, body temperature to even how much oxygen you have got in your blood. What’s more fascinating is that it allows us to measure what only doctors were doing so far. It helps us know the working of our own bodies, making it feel like a quantified self health movement.
The data keeps you motivated to set a goal, attain it and then try to do even better. “Our fitness trackers are not only used to monitor your walking/running distance and your calorie intake. It does much more than that. One of the key functions of Jawbone is that it helps you monitor your heart rate as soon as you wake up. It’s very important that your waking heart rate is stable as any irregularity there is an indication of an impending health issue, which needs intervention. Most people will completely miss out on such critical signs because they have no way to map them,” shares California-based Bandar Antabi, Vice President, Head of Special Projects, Jawbone. They claim to have 80 percent retention rate where people at least access the device anything between 3 times to 7 times a day even after long use.
We all want to get fit and look better but it’s difficult to maintain a healthy routine. Fitness trackers force you to change your lifestyle for better, which is tough otherwise. These fitness bands passively tracks your day. “Even your sleep is broken into live sleep, deep sleep and other factors. It can help deal with a variety of lifestyle issues too,” adds Bandar Antabi talking about Jawbone UP3.
While scientific factors are making these devices popular, what’s working more in their favor is the motivation they provide. Technology aiding fitness is no longer restricted to individuals but companies are also taking cognizance of the dire need. Dr. Rana K. Chengappa, Clinical Director, Sports Medicine, AktivOrtho states, “According to a recent study, employers seeking to improve worker output and reduce absenteeism should introduce work-site based programs encompassing employee health management and engagement to their strategies in office. A healthy and happy employee at work not only performs better, but also creates a healthy environment.”

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