Wearables like the Apple Watch offer so much potential for optimizing your health and wellness. And they just keep getting better and better. Not only can they help you track your exercises and diet, now they actually keep track of data that is extremely useful for hospitals and other medical care providers.
After a trip to the doctor or seeing some weight gain, you may find yourself thinking about how you need to get your act together. But it usually only takes a few days for you to forget about those concerns – you can quickly fall back into your regular patterns. Wearables help keep your goals in front of you. Once you tell them what you want to accomplish, like taking a certain number of steps a day, they help you track your progress and encourage you to keep doing your best.
Different devices have different capabilities, but it is likely that as technology progresses more and more devices will become capable of monitoring any number of functions. For diabetics, there are sensors that can be inserted under the skin to constantly measure blood glucose levels. Apple recently announced that its watch will be capable of functioning like an electrocardiogram (ECG) which can monitor your heartbeat. Not only did they make the device capable of serving as an ECG, but they also gained clearance from the FDA so that they could detect A-fib or atrial fibrillation. That means it can help detect the signs of things like heart failure and blood clots.
Apple’s decision to get FDA clearance means that your Apple watch could be used by healthcare providers to check on your heart every time you came in for a check-up – or if you were unfortunate enough to arrive at the hospital in an emergency situation.
Wearables can also monitor your sleep, your breathing and even things like your running pace and VO2 max if you are training.
A major challenge with health and wellness initiatives is that it is often very difficult to get people to participate. The longer you want them to participate – like trying to keep them healthy over a lifetime – the less likely they are to want to engage. But wearables do not suffer from this kind of problem. People love them and are going to use them anyway.
Since people are already strapping wearables on their wrists, and doing so with enthusiasm, it becomes a lot easier to encourage them to use their devices for health and wellness reasons. If you go into your doctor or chiropractor for a wellness exam and they tell you to add an app to your device for tracking and improving your health, you are more likely to do it than you would with many other recommendations.
Many employers are excited by the potential of wearables to improve employee health which in turn leads to less sick days and lost productivity. That is why some are going so far as to pay for wearables or at least partially reimburse employees if they buy a wearable and engage in a health and wellness program. So you could potentially get help buying a wearable from your employer, making it even simpler to monitor and improve your health.
If you are not sure whether your employer has a program for wearable reimbursement, it never hurts to ask. You may be surprised at what you discover.
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