Wearable health technology first started in hospitals as a way to help people with injuries heal faster. Now, the trend has gone mainstream and pro-active; one in five online adults uses a wearable device, and the majority of those devices are health-related. Here are five wearable health devices and how you can use them to help build fitness and better health.
(BPT) - Wearable health technology first started in hospitals as a way to help people with injuries heal faster. Now, the trend has gone mainstream and pro-active; one in five online adults uses a wearable device, and the majority of those devices are health-related, according to Forrester Research.
"Americans are using a variety of wearable devices to help them reach their wellness goals," says Mike Nohilly, an expert in wearable technology for Slendertone. Once, people would have needed a doctor's visit to find out key wellness numbers like BMI or blood pressure, or needed gym equipment to monitor their heart rates while exercising. Wearable devices allow them to do all those things, and even tone specific muscle groups, at their own convenience."
Here are five wearable health devices and how you can use them to help build fitness and better health:
* Fitness trackers - If it seems like everyone is wearing some kind of fitness tracker, you're not imagining it. The top wearable of 2015 was a fitness tracker that shipped more than 21 million units last year and represented nearly 38 percent of the wearables market, according to International Data Corporation. Fitness trackers allow wearers to monitor key health indicators such as heart rate or calories burned. You can also use them to set and track exercise goals, such as walking a certain number of steps per day, or monitor your heart rate while exercising to ensure you reach a target zone.
* Pain relief braces - Worn like traditional braces, smart braces use neurostimulation sensors, built into the fabric, to ease pain with low-level electrical impulses. Wearers rely on the bands to help relieve joint pain from chronic conditions like arthritis. Some come with a smartphone app that allows you to track usage and sleep patterns.
* Ab toner - Instead of spending hours in the gym doing crunches, you can enhance your workout by wearing a piece of technology that works to strengthen, firm and tone your abs. The Slendertone Connect Abs wearable belt uses electrical muscle stimulation (EMS) to stimulate the major abdominal muscles, and can be worn and used at any time - even under your clothes. Users report visible results in six to eight weeks when used at least five days per week for 30 minutes. You can control this FDA-cleared device through an app on Android or Apple smartphones, and choose one of five goal-driven programs, from essential toning to post-natal and even advanced toning. The app also tracks and shares data on your progress. Visit www.slendertone.com.
* Sleep trackers - Getting the right amount of sleep is critical for overall health, so sleep trackers have gained popularity as aids to help people get better rest. Many types are available and some are wearable. Sleep trackers monitor such sleep metrics as REM phases, how long per night you spend in light sleep versus deep sleep, wake times, how quickly you fall asleep, what time you sleep each night and more.
* UV detector - An emerging form of wearable technology, UV detectors monitor skin exposure to harmful ultra-violet radiation - the portion of sunlight that causes sunburn, tanning and skin cancer. Multiple versions are under development, and one commercially available detector is a small patch that you wear on your skin and then scan using your smartphone that's been equipped with a special app. The app allows you to read the information recorded in the patch so you know your UV exposure, and offers tips for sun safety, including what level SPF sunscreen you should wear.
"Many health care and tech industry watchers say the wearable health care device trend is really just getting started," Nohilly says. "Technology has great potential to help make it easier than ever to achieve our health and fitness goals, whether we want to get a better night's rest, improving cardio-vascular health or get toned abs."
(BPT) - Technology has influenced virtually every aspect of our lives. Arguably one of the biggest areas of change is in health care. From advanced surgical tools to early disease testing, every day new technology emerges in an effort to help people stay healthy and live longer. Wearable technology now puts information directly in the hands of the patient, helping people do everything from tracking steps to counting calories. Now, smartphone apps are getting even smarter, allowing physicians, patients and their loved ones if they choose, in-depth access to important health information in just a few finger taps.
Those in the diabetes community are embracing this new mobile technology enthusiastically to better manage their condition. Keeping a written logbook can be time-consuming, confusing and frustrating for patients. Now, critical diabetes information is easier to manage and understand with the Accu-Chek Connect(R) Diabetes Management System.
With test results automatically sent from the Accu-Chek Aviva Connect meter to an app on your smartphone and an online portal, people with diabetes are able to log, view and share data anytime, anywhere, without ever writing in a logbook. Thus, never worrying about forgetting to bring this information to their physicians for important visits. Rarely do we forget our phones. They can be lifelines in more ways than one.
“The Accu-Chek Aviva Connect helps to create a sense of confidence for the person who is trying to self-manage their condition,” says Dr. David Robertson, MD of Atlanta Diabetes Associates. “It can help demystify diabetes and bring a sense of order to a very complex condition that is a constant burden to patients.”
The system allows users to have text results sent automatically, plus you can attach meal photos, view trends and even use the app’s insulin calculator. Considering 91 percent of adults keep their smartphones within arm’s reach, it’s simple to track important information quickly and efficiently.
Beyond patient empowerment, technology like this better facilitates the patient-doctor relationship. Because the system loads all information into an online portal stored in the cloud, it can be accessed at any time by the physician if the patient chooses. This means a snapshot of the bigger picture is always available, whether in-person at an appointment or while the patient is on the other side of the world.
What’s more, the doctor can activate an insulin calculator in the app, the Accu-Chek Bolus Advisor, which makes it simple for patients to calculate how much insulin is needed at each meal. That means patients can enjoy their meals without worrying about the math.
“Perhaps no community is better suited for this type of advanced technology than the diabetes community,” says Dr. Robertson.
“Knowledge is power. This detailed information is incredibly helpful to physicians so we can spot trends and make informed decisions along with the patient. Technology here is the tool to success.”
Learn more about how technology is transforming the diabetes community by visiting accu-chek.com/connect. Accu-Chek Connect is available at Walgreens, Rite Aid and select Kroger locations.
Lack of proper sleep can lead to impaired focus at work, trouble remembering, fatigue, stress and even weight gain. To get a good night’s rest, take advantage of these tips and consider shutting off all electronics before climbing into bed.
Powering down before bed for a good night's rest
(Family Features) Checking email or flipping through channels instead of sleeping? Playing video games or browsing social media in bed? If you want to catch some quality ZZZs, you should put down that smartphone.
The National Sleep Foundation reports nearly 90 percent of adults sleep with at least one electronic device in their bedroom. However, staring at a screen after 9 p.m. can zap your body of energy, turning you into a zombie the next day. To get a good night's rest, consider shutting off all electronics before climbing into bed.
How Electronics Affect Your Sleep
Your body functions on a 24-hour internal clock. This clock is influenced by your physical environment and daily schedule. Using electronic devices around bedtime can throw off your body clock and negatively affect your quality of sleep.
Light and darkness affect your body clock. Staring at the blue glow of electronic devices - computers, tablets, televisions, gaming systems and/or smartphones - before bedtime can trick your body into thinking it's still daytime. The artificial light sends messages to the brain to wake up and activates the body. This, in turn, can reset your body clock, delaying your normal sleep cycle.
Studies show that staring at bright screens within four hours of bedtime reduces melatonin, a hormone that makes you naturally tired when it's time to sleep. This can cause difficulty when trying to fall asleep, poor quality of sleep or sleep disorders, such as insomnia.
In the long run, problems sleeping at night can impact you during the day. Lack of proper sleep can lead to impaired focus at work, trouble remembering, fatigue, stress and even weight gain.
It is important to get 7-9 hours of quality sleep each night. To get a better night's sleep, experts recommend:
If your smartphone is your alarm clock, set your phone to sleep mode (do not disturb function) so all calls and texts will be silenced unless it's an emergency. Be sure to put your phone face down on the nightstand so incoming messages don't wake you up.
Power down tonight and don't let your technology keep you from a good night's rest.
Find more resources to help you get a better night's rest from Guard Your Health, a health education campaign by the Army National Guard, at guardyourhealth.com.
Night Time Stimulants to Avoid
While using electronic devices is one night time distraction, here are some other common things to avoid to get a good night's rest:
Photo courtesy of Getty Images (man stretching)
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