A fitness lover’s Christmas with wearable tech
Friday, December 09, 2016
'Tis the season of time with loved ones, joyful traditions and scarfing a lot of high-carb sides that remain on your sides. In no time at all, many of us will be setting health resolutions to make the pounds disappear like we did the pecan pie. And we'll have plenty of digital help as smartwatches and fitness trackers look to be the talk of the holidays.
Don't listen to the secondhand hype that wearables are a fad. Holiday shopping is upon us, and fitness tech is in.
According to a worldwide survey published in the American College of Sports Medicine's Health and Fitness Journal, wearable technology will be the biggest fitness trend of 2017. Last year's top trend was body weight training, and high-intensity interval training (HIIT) was No. 1 in 2014.
Wearables, which are projected to be a popular Christmas gift, are devices that can be worn to track distance/steps, speed, types of physical activity, heart rate, sleep quality, body temperature, stress level and more. They primarily come in two forms: fitness trackers and smartwatches.
What's the difference? The smartwatch can be looked at as an extension of your smartphone. It pairs with the phone to run a number of apps through the watch, along with receiving calls and texts.
Of course, smartwatches also track your fitness, with all the bells and whistles, including features like daily activity, heart rate monitoring, sleep tracking, calorie counting, multisport training, GPS and more. A few examples of the smartwatch are the Apple Watch, Garmin Fenix 3 HR and Fitbit Blaze.
Then there are the fitness trackers, which are usually geared toward quantifying your daily fitness and health — steps/distance, heart rate, sleep and calories burned. Some trackers are blurring the lines as they begin to adopt some features of the smartwatch, like pairing with your phone and receiving call and text alerts. A few examples of the fitness tracker are Fitbit Charge, Garmin Vivosmart and Samsung Gear Fit2.
According to the International Data Corporation from June through September, fitness trackers held 85 percent of the wearables market, as smartwatches declined in popularity during the same time period. Based on worldwide shipments, market share and year-over-year growth, the top five wearable device vendors are Fitbit, Xiaomi (mostly in China), Garmin, Apple and Samsung.
These wearables have proven to be more than just the latest trendy gift item. Research shows they actually work.
A recent study out of Indiana University found that fitness wearables, when temporarily paired with wellness coaching, can help consumers obtain long-term fitness goals.
The researchers focused on how people view activity trackers, how they affect behavior and how they can be incorporated into programs that help people stay active. The study found 90 percent of participants agreed that a combination of coaching and a fitness tracker helped them sustain their fitness and wellness goals after coaching finished.
The results of another new study, published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, offer the first scientifically convincing data for owning a fitness tracker.
According to the participants' activity trackers, those who exercised moderately for about 150 minutes per week were 35 percent less likely to die prematurely than those who moved less. Commentary that accompanied the study noted that when your activity tracker prompts you to workout out for 30 minutes daily, there is now objective proof that by doing so, you can extend your longevity.
So don't get so wound up during the holidays about what 2017 has in store. When it comes to working out, time won't be the only thing of essence in the new year.
Ditch your brother's secondhand wrist relic and get on board with a watch that works just as hard as you do.
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