Fitbits. Garmins. Apple watches. Chances are, if you have more than a passing interest in sports and health, you own one. Highly visible as a wristband or watch, these fitness devices are capable of measuring metrics such as heart rate, time, speed and calories burned.
According to Online Masters, a data-driven research website, wearables were first used in 2009 during European Soccer Club games to measure players’ overall workload. The device was among the first to allow coaches to monitor each player’s biometrics for signs of exhaustion or injury while on the field.
Owner and head coach of The Crossfit Squad located in West Palm Beach Derek Bishop has owned several fitness trackers and believes they encourage his clients to make the right choices in class and at home.
“I think fitness trackers definitely help people and the clients shoot for goals and, therefore, reach their goals better,” Bishop said.
With wearables capable of capturing every footstep of a race or training program, people have access to an accurate view of performance, form and risk.
Runner Avery Korn knows what it is like to have to use a wearable to track heart rate activity.
“In the past, I have had heart issues and so my watch also tracks heart rate,” Korn said. “If my heart rate is way higher than it should be for this style of run then I know maybe something’s up.”
Having an understanding of the spectrum of what constitutes a normal heart rate is important for someone using a Fitbit or an Apple watch. While exercising, one can determine what their heart rate should be. Pushing oneself to the maximum capabilities while working out can have a strain on the heart according to Harvard Health Publishing.
In the future, wearables will no longer just be a tool to boost engagement around simple fitness goals like getting more exercise, they will be focused on gathering clinical data and offering diagnoses. According to CNBC, Apple reportedly has a “secret team” of biomedical engineers working to put blood sugar sensors into its Apple Watch for diabetic patients. This could possibly be a game changer for Millennials and Generation Z.