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smart watch
Will Harding

Smart Watches: How Smart Can They Be?

Earlier this week, I was speaking to a patient with back pain about the benefits of a smartwatch. He had been given one for Christmas and had found that the ‘Move!’ reminders he was getting every 30-60 minutes had been invaluable for motivating him to get up from his desk and stretch frequently. As a result, he’d found he was experiencing his back pain less frequently and less intensely. So, let’s discuss how smartwatches can help get you moving, motivated, and feeling marvellous.

Real-Time Monitoring:

One of the most well known advantages of smartwatches and activity trackers is their ability to monitor your physical activity in real-time. From steps taken to calories burned, heart rate, and even sleep patterns, these devices can provide a comprehensive overview of your daily activities. This real-time data empowers you to make informed decisions about your fitness routine throughout the day, as well as look back at times when you were fitter/sleeping better/feeling better, and see what you did differently.

Setting and Tracking Goals:

Smartwatches allow you to set personalised fitness goals, whether it’s a daily step count, calories burned, or active minutes. Gamifying and tracking your progress over time can be incredibly motivating (who doesn’t want a gold star for standing up?). Celebrating small victories and seeing improvements encourages you to stay committed to your fitness journey.

Workout Guidance and Coaching:

Many smartwatches come equipped with pre-set workout programs and coaching features. Whether you’re a seasoned athlete or a beginner, having a ‘virtual coach’ on your wrist can provide valuable insights on technique, intensity, and duration, ensuring that your workouts are both effective and realistic.

Heart Rate Monitoring:

The ability to monitor your heart rate during workouts offers valuable information regarding the intensity of your exercise. This data helps you optimise your training, ensuring that you’re working within your target heart rate zone for maximum cardiovascular benefits without putting yourself at risk of burnout, and/or impacting life outside of fitness training. It can also function as a marker of how fit you are; As you embrace exercise into your life, watch that resting heart rate start to fall.

Sleep Tracking for Recovery:

Adequate rest is a crucial component of any fitness regimen. Many smartwatches include sleep-tracking features, which analyse the duration and quality of your sleep. Understanding your sleep patterns allows you to make lifestyle adjustments to improve recovery and overall well-being.

Nutritional Insights:

Some smartwatches offer features that allow you to log your food and fluid intake, and track your nutritional habits. By keeping an eye on your caloric intake, hydration status, and nutritional balance, you can align your diet with your fitness goals, whether it’s weight loss, muscle gain, or just wanting to feel better in yourself.

Motivational Reminders:

As I stated earlier, smartwatches can send you reminders to move, stand, or take a break, promoting a more active lifestyle throughout the day. These gentle nudges can be particularly beneficial for those with sedentary jobs or busy schedules, encouraging them to take on a quick ‘movement snack’ before returning to work.

Conclusion:

As we embrace smart technology in our day-to-day lives, leveraging the capabilities of smartwatches and activity trackers can make navigating your fitness journey significantly easier. The features mentioned above (among others!), provide a holistic approach to achieving and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Obviously, you still have to do the work, and they can never replace a good fitness/wellbeing professional, but it helps to have something taking away the admin associated with maintaining healthy habits and a fitness routine.

So, if you have a smartwatch, make sure you’re using it to its fullest potential, and if you think a smartwatch is something that might help you, make sure you check them out.