Wearable technology is changing how people monitor their health and fitness goals.
With health and fitness taking centerstage, smart wearable gadgets are seeing a newfound resurgence. Some of the most common and innovative kinds of wearable technology in the current day include smart watches, smart clothing, head-mounted displays and implantable technology.
The wearable market is booming and the key players are giving high-efforts to meet the growing demands of consumers seeking assistance for self-serving healthcare gadgets. As per records, the wearable technology market worth $23 billion in 2018 and the experts suggest that the worth would grow to $54 billion by 2023 considering the compound annual rate of 19%. Today the market has smart watches and smart bands that examine your heath by keeping a track on things like blood pressure, heart rate, SpO2 level and ECG rating. On the other hand, there are fitness wearables available in the market like fitness bands that keep a check on an individual’s calorie intake, calculate the number of steps taken, activities done in a day by setting your fitness goals. Today you have everything that fits in your pocket to track your steps to advanced watches that boast of sensors that can notify you if you have heart arrythmia. Fitness and health wearables were not as prevalent and accessible until the launch of low-cost devices. Technology companies are now in direct competition for your wrist space as they take established watch makers. Praveshh Gaur, Founder & Director Srauta Wellness explains how Riddhima Singh a 37-year-old housewife from Delhi started benefitting from wearable technology post an angioplasty. “She started with 30 minutes of exercise but was unable to see any benefits of the activity and over time slackened her exercise routine. Having been gifted a smartwatch last year which comes with functions to monitor physical activity, heart rate, pulse rate, and blood pressure, Riddhima is now more proactive about her overall health. She can now monitor how many steps she has taken in the day and the number of calories burnt with the watch according to which she adjusts her routine.” Kashish Lalit, Director – Toreto Retail Private Limited adds, “our buyer Vishal Negi, a 22-year-old law graduate who purchased our Toreto Boom 2 smartwatch two months ago for its personal use. While using the device, he comes to know that he was suffering from high blood pressure. This device helps him to keep a check on his Blood Pressure, Heart Rate and Calorie intake on a regular basis.”
Health on your Fingertips
Technology has become an integral part of everyone’s life today and wearable smart gadgets are just what everyone wants these days. “We see a lot of people getting health conscious and the fast-paced lifestyle doesn’t give a lot of time for fitness hence they opt for smart wearables that include fitness trackers, smartwatches or calorie bands. Impacts are quite evident as people spend more time towards health and fitness by improving their diets and these wearables easily help them track the progress of daily health parameters. Due to more awareness about the advanced wearable technology, people can customise their fitness routine and choices according to the requirement,” says Manvendra K Chandola, CEO, Riversong India. There are multiple studies conducted worldwide, that show how wearable industry has benefited people in attaining their fitness and health goals. Himay Chikani, Founder, AH Fitness says, “we use flash reflex training system on our clients. A young 13 year old boy selected for state level athletic training has benefited from flash reflex technology. He has improved his speed, reactive agility and has taken his game to the next level in just few sessions. I think a great trend in wearable technology is smart helmets for cyclists. These smart helmets with built in brake light and a compact remote control for turn signals are very effective for professional cyclists. These helmets have an augmented-reality visor for improved navigation and can warn the cyclist of potential hazards coming from the side or behind.” The primary thing that wearable technology facilitates is proactive healthcare. “Apps that are linked up with wearable smart watches and trackers can remind you to drink water throughout the day,” says Prosenjit Biswas, Fitness Manager, Skulpt, Kolkata. Dr. Shivaram H V, Chief Surgeon and Sr. Consultant – GI & Bariatric Surgery, Aster CMI Hospital, says, “wearable technology can have both a positive and negative impact on fitness and health, depending on how the individual makes use of it. These devices are also synced with smartphones to help give further advice/guidance on one’s fitness regime. The impact of such devices on an individual’s health is largely psychological and helps them track their daily exercise/activity level – when used positively; a person can see the device as a way to motivate themselves to stick to their fitness goals.”
Do it Right
The key to success is to use these to support achievable goals. If you set a goal of 10000 steps but achieve only 5000 daily you will be demotivated very quickly and are more likely to abandon the wearable and the endeavour to get active. On the other hand, using the same device to focus on daily progress, be it 100 or 500 additional steps is motivating and achievable. Allowing the user to feel the ecstasy of the win and strive for another the next day. Simrun Chopra, Lifestyle and Transformation Coach, says, “trackers are effective to give you a general number to go with to hit your steps/calorie burn for the day. They are not completely accurate as many of them track an auto ride as steps. They tend to be ineffective with certain details like how long your slept and the hours of deep sleep and bad sleep as you cannot use that data to fix your sleep. You will only know if you slept badly or not when you wake up. Thereby creating an obsessive cycle of focusing on the data. Wearable technologies and their derivatives are also propagating a cultural shift in how fitness is perceived and monitored traditionally. “Self-monitoring blood glucose meters and blood pressure monitors can provide instant feedback, track patterns, show progress and can be easily shared with a health care provider,” says Padmanaban Sekaran, Chief of Rehab Services, Injury Prevention & Performance Rehab Consultant, Sportho, Sparsh Hospitals, Bangalore.
With rapid advancements in technology, AI can be used to integrate emergency services with health and fitness data which can prove to be lifesaving in emergency situations. AI could automatically inform doctors if their patient’s vitals act up due to any reason. As of now, wearables rely heavily on smartphones to stay ‘connected’. Ajay Poddar, Managing Director, Syenergy Environics Ltd. avers, “the new premium watches now support emergency intimation functions. Double pressing a button while in distress automatically notifies a set of chosen people and provides them with live location (on LTE and connected watches). Something that serves a completely different but useful purpose. Other watches can send out SOS messages if the user falls or their heart rate seems inconsistent. Wearable technology has been the game-changer in the tech-driven world with much impact on the healthcare industry. “The wearable devices designed for the healthcare sector have smartly replaced several traditional diagnostic methods. People don’t need to visit the diagnostic centers or the doctor for simple health checkups as using the smart devices they can keep a track record of their health condition. As a professional in the healthcare sector, I would suggest everyone to research and analyze the usefulness of the products designed with wearable technology. Wearable technology of course is the future and with the rapid modernization will soon replace several other traditional diagnostic methods. Stay updated with the trending technology to lead a smart life,” opines Satkam Divya, CEO, KlinicApp.
Wearables promote healthier living by their features that encourage healthy eating, exercise and medical care access. “I am currently wearing the Oura ring that I got from Finland. This device tracks my sleep pattern, quality of sleep and helps me maintain a bed time that suits my daily rhythm. The app notifies me if my sleep is not good, and if I need to rest. As a result, I realised whenever I ate Chinese food or any soy product I had a restless night; other days I slept soundly. That’s just the tip of the iceberg—the ring once actually alerted me to take it easy physically, but against good advice I still worked out. The next day, my immunity was at its lowest,” explains Suman Agarwal, celebrity nutritionist and healthcare expert, author and founder of SelfCare India, Selfcare by Suman. Ingestible Nanochips help doctors monitor your body’s internal systems. Vikram Beri, Founder, BetterLYF.com adds, “some therapists use this as a part of their therapeutic practice when they work with fears, phobias, and anxiety. Wherein, for instance, a person having a fear of heights, is step by step exposed to heights using AR. It is like hand-holding accompanied by controlled exposure to anxiety-provoking stimuli.”
Health in your Hands
- ADAMM is a smart gadget that helps to understand as well as monitor asthma. This wearable device designed by Health Care Originals detects the precursor symptoms of asthma while the smartphone app makes basic management easier and the web portal helps to detect the treatment effectiveness.
- Valedo Back Therapy is an innovative wearable gadget that is designed for people experiencing lower back pain. The device needs to be attached to the person’s back and the sensors in the gadget will store the data which can be accessed through the app.
- HealthPatch MD is a pioneering wearable device that helps to keep track of breathing, heart rate, body temperature, steps, and body position. The device powered by biosensor technology has ECG electrodes and a 3-axis accelerometer.
- Google Smart Contact Lenses is an exclusive wearable product designed by Google for people with diabetes. These smart lenses measure the glucose level by collecting the person’s tears.
- Cyrcadia Health’s iTBra is a smart wearable product that helps to keep track of breast health. The product embeds sensors that track the rhythms and condition of the breast tissue and gives alert of cancer possibilities. With this product, the brand aims to help women by giving information about optimal breast health.
- QardioCore wearable is a wearable ECG monitor device that straps around the chest. The smart sensors monitor heart health as well as overall health status in real-time.
This story first appeared in the March 2020 issue of Healthcare India magazine here: