How can your digital devices help you live longer, fuller lives?
Wearable technology and fitness apps and devices meet in the form of fitness bands, designed to improve the quality of your health.
What do you use your smartphone for? It used to be a device to make calls and receive messages, but today you can do so much with it – pay for your morning coffee, view your home’s CCTV and even track and improve your health.
In the space of ten years, technology has improved the way we live by leaps and bounds. Your smartphone and wearable technology are now capable of tracking and helping you improve your health and fitness.
A review conducted by the American Heart Association found that wearable technology or fitness apps have brought improvements to the diet, physical activity, and body fat count of people who use it. Another study funded by the Ministry of Health Singapore found that at 12 months, the activity trackers were effective in sustaining physical activity compared to participants who did not have an activity tracker.
Below are some ways wearable technology is helping to improve health and lives all over the world.
1. Counting your steps
This is the most basic feature of all fitness bands. Wearing one will tell you how many steps you have taken in a day and the distance you walked. This feature is beneficial in helping you to work towards your recommended 10,000 steps daily and is also available as a built-in feature on Android (by way of S Health) and Apple (Apple Health) smartphones.
2. Measuring active minutes
Most fitness devices provide a summary at the end of each day of the minutes you were active or experienced elevated heart rates. If you work in an office or have a desk-bound job, you would have less physical activity throughout the day, which may lead to a sedentary lifestyle. A sedentary lifestyle (of little to no physical activity) increases your risk for preventable illnesses such as anxiety and high blood pressure. With the help of a health device like a fitness band, you will be reminded to get active by getting up from your seat every hour.
3. Calculating the amount of calories in your meal
Healthy eating is one of the ways to healthy living. To help promote a balanced eating habit, some fitness devices and apps can assign a calorie count to meals. Others, using your built-in camera, can scan the barcode of your snack to do the same. Knowing and tracking what you are eating enables you to make smarter decisions on what to eat and when to eat it.
4. Measuring your sleep pattern
Often, it is not the duration of sleep we get at night that matters, but the quality of sleep and the amount of time spent in deep sleep. Fitness bands that monitor your sleep through the night give you a summary of your hours of deep, light and REM sleep, and accompanying recommendations on how you can get better sleep the following night. Some also come with an additional function of vibrating alarm clock to gently rouse you from the night, while others claim to wake you at your lightest point of sleep to help you feel most awake in the morning.
5. Personalised training guidance by heart rate
Knowing your maximum heart rate allows you to gauge the intensity and effectiveness of your exercise. The maximum heart rate for a person is calculated by subtracting your age from 220. If you aim for a vigorous workout, you should aim to hit 70% to 85% of your maximum heart rate. A moderate workout would be between 50% and 70% of your maximum heart rate. Among others, the Polar fitness device offers personalised heart rate-based training guidance. All you have to do is strap the band on your wrist snugly during your workout, and it will guide you to sustain or increase your heart rate for an aerobic workout.
The right combination of knowledge and technology makes it possible for us to have better health, fitness and quality of life.
Speak to a dedicated AIA Life Planner to find out more
Here are 12 health-based devices and apps you can use to track, improve and reward your healthy behaviour. All 12 apps and selected device models are compatible with AIA Vitality, our unique insurance and health programme that empowers you with the knowledge, tools and motivation to help you achieve your health goals