Wearables - What are the benefits of digital activity trackers?

What are wearables?

Today, a glance at the wrist can reveal much more than just the time. So-called wearable computers - small computers that are worn on the body or on clothing and measure body functions via sensors - are now part of everyday life for many people. Especially in the fitness and lifestyle sector, they have become indispensable - after all, there is hardly a runner who starts his lap without tracking his route and speed. Smartwatches, fitness bracelets and digital glasses are the best-known representatives. Basic information such as time, number of steps or pulse can usually be displayed directly on the device. The maximum benefit of wearables, however, is when they are understood as an extension of a smartphone and are linked to it via an app. In this way, the measured data can be called up at any time and training progress can be tracked. Other health data such as sleep or heart rate can also be tracked and may even be of medical value.

What can they do?

The range of functions of a wearable depends on the model. Fitness bracelets or activity trackers are the simplest form of wearables. They usually come in the form of a slim wristband and measure basic values such as the number of steps and heart rate. Due to the limited range of functions, the batteries of fitness bracelets often last for several days, which also makes them ideal for tracking sleep phases. Smartwatches, on the other hand, are usually much larger than fitness bracelets and also offer corresponding functions after being paired with a smartphone: For example, the touch screen can be used to call up messages, display the weather or select music. But beware: not all smartwatches can be paired with all operating systems. Digital glasses are probably the most unusual variant. Data glasses are permanently connected to the internet to combine measurements from the environment with information from the web, e.g. to recognise people. So far, the glasses have not been able to establish themselves on the market - not at least because of concerns about data and consumer protection.

Advantages and disadvantages 

Wearables thus offer a handy, uncomplicated way to track fitness and health data and improve sport, sleep and health. Because of these functions, they are also increasingly used in the medical field and in prevention. This will probably grow continuously with the further development of functions, e.g. measuring blood glucose levels. However, problems that need to be addressed until then are, for example, the partly limited compatibility, insufficient battery life and too limited range of apps for smartwatches. Wearables also quickly fall under criticism when it comes to data protection - although most of the weak points in fitness trackers and smartwatches relate to linked apps, which should therefore be avoidable. All in all, wearables offer a valuable tool to optimise one's health and performance oneself and hold great potential for medical added value. 

Do you want to learn how to find your own Personalised Nutrition with the help of wearables and sensor technology, what is available on the market and where the journey is heading? Then register for our NEWTRITION X. Innovation Summit Personalised Nutrition on 12 October 2021! Benedikt Kurz from Garmin Health will give an exciting presentation on this topic. Click here to register. 

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