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Sunday, February 21, 2021

Smartwatch - your personal healthcare companion

Smartwatches monitor your health, encourage, give recommendations and praise.

Take a break and move around! Drink some water! You have earned an intensive athlete medal. Twenty seconds of handwashing and the pathogens are gone! Breathe! Smartwatches monitor your health, encourage, give recommendations, and praise.

Five weeks with five health-monitoring smartwatches - during this instructive and sometimes orderly adventure, I constantly feel like the personal health companion Baymax, known from the Oscar-winning cartoon "Big Hero 6", is going to jump out of the watch. Well, the white balloon-man does not show up, but his caring cues and health messages are a reminder on my wrist day and night.

Smartwatch takes its job seriously
Today's smartwatches are becoming smarter, but also more accurate and sensitive. When I was walking to the office one morning, I felt the Apple Watch Series 6 vibrate gently on my wrist. The watch was kindly suggesting that maybe I would like to record my outdoor walking as an activity. I raised my eyebrows - well, how does the watch know that I'm outdoors right now? An even greater surprise strikes me when I quickly rinse my hands under the tap and at the end of it, the watch tells me that " Twenty seconds of handwashing and the pathogens are gone!" Wow! My personal healthcare partner is really taking its job very seriously! Counting steps and calories, measuring heart rate and distance, monitoring sleep and fluid intake. These are the basic healthcare features of any smartwatch, but the new watches offer even more.

Sensitive sensors on the watch can:
• Measuring the electrical resistance of the skin to assess what mood you are in and how stressed you are at that moment (e.g. Fitbit Sense);
Identifying changes in body temperature, this feature has become especially important during COVID-19;
• Measuring the amount of oxygen in your blood to give an overview of how well the body absorbs oxygen and how well it is distributed in the body;
• Checking the heart rate and giving warnings of any irregularities.

How can these watches benefit your health?
What advice did they give me and what did I learn from using them? Appreciate good sleep! Refreshing sleep restores the body from physical activity, it improves your concentration, attention, and ability to work. When properly rested, your memory and learning abilities are working at their best. Referring to the esteemed Sports Biologist Kristjan Port, if you get a good night´s sleep then things could be done faster and you would have time left for other things. Think about how much you could do with that time! It is the Garmin Venu SQ smartwatch that is the most striking when it comes to sleep. At 5.48 am, 6.43 am – I see the ruthless truth about the hours of sleep I´ve had and how much of it was in the light-, deep- and REM sleep phase. I am well aware that an adult needs 7-8 hours of sleep a night and regularly (e.g. going to bed at 11 pm, waking up at 7 am). Why don't I do it then? Pull yourself together! Take care of yourself! On the third morning, I finally get a message, "Well-rested!" What if you took that praise as your daily goal and put an end to this sleep-is-for-the-weak-attitude?

Take a break and move around!
exercise improves our body's oxygen and blood supply, which helps the body cope better with blood fats and stress. Exercise helps us in many ways – it stabilizes the blood sugar levels and lowers cholesterol, supports the immune system, helps keep the weight down, makes us stronger and more resilient. The smartwatch encourages people to get up and move around if they have been sitting behind the desk for too long; rewards effort with a medal and also provides exercises and training plans if needed. These watches let you choose your favorite activity from dozens of different types of exercise.

Take a break and move around! Samsung Galaxy Watch 3, o, are even smart enough to recognize when you start a new workout and start tracking it automatically. However, as a huge running and triathlon enthusiast, I was especially fascinated by the Polar Grit X's Fuel Wise function, which reminds me during a long workout when it would be wise to restore some energy and drink fluids, and even calculates the number of carbohydrates needed to last until the end of the workout. Brilliant!

Exhale and release the stress!
Prolonged constant stress weakens the body. This makes us susceptible to colds, indigestion, and autoimmune diseases. The body weakens, its ability to recover decreases, and some people may gain extra pounds as a result of that. One of my favorite suggestions from my watches has been the breathing exercises - a minute or two or as long as it takes for me to calm my mind. The best part is reviewing my day in the evening, paying special attention to my daily stress indicators, whether my day has been well-balanced, calm, or stressful. If there are too many yellow and red lines on the chart, it's time to use the Fitbit app for a longer guided meditation. I will be wiser tomorrow and that will keep me going!

Tested watches with results:

Masterclass of sensitivity!

Apple Watch
Series 6

Special feature: A new innovative sensor that measures the oxygen levels in your blood.
The most zen watch!

Fitbit Sense

Special feature: This allows you to use pulse-based guided breathing exercises. Monitors changes in body temperature.
Best value for money!

Garmin Venu SQ

Special feature: With the Body Battery function you can find out when is the best time to be active or the best time to rest.
Stylish and smart!

Samsung Galaxy Watch 3

Special feature: Rotating frame for selecting applications. Useful sleep tips and educational content for understanding and improving sleep.
Ultimate durability!

Polar Grit X

Special feature: Multisport watch, even for the longest and most difficult challenges, also teaches recovery.

Text by Evelin Kivilo-Paas