Wearables and Tracking
May 20, 2019
I am officially a fan of wearables as the tech has finally achieved a level of sophistication worthy of tracking health data. I have played with many different devices over the years and the vast majority are garbage providing bad or meaningless data. After a very short time, these devices are shown for what they are, gimmicks.
The Oura Ring, on the other hand, is a device that I am in love with. (Full disclosure - I have no financial interest in this company) The Oura Ring gives the wearer the ability to look at a level of readiness for the upcoming day based on sleep, heart rate variability and activity level the previous day. The accuracy appears to be spot on or at least the best that I have seen to date.
The device is a hard plastic ring that contains a temperature gauge, infrared pulse wave LED, an accelerometer and a gyroscope. These measuring devices allow the ring to measure resting heart rate, heart rate variability, temperature, respiratory rate, sleep pattern and stages as well as a composite readiness score based on these metrics.
I have long used my day time feelings to parse the effects of the previous days activities in order to push lifestyle change for my betterment. The Oura ring on the other hand allows for the direct measurement of health metrics that allow the user to have insight into previously mis understood feelings or just a lack of knowledge of what defined events have on physiology.
For a positive data example, when I work out or eat late into the evening or take a late sauna/steam room session, the Oura Ring has alerted me to the fact that my sleep is less deep and that my night time heart rate takes up to four hours to get down to the nadir compared with nights when I eat at 6 PM and rest afterwards. On the face of it that does not mean much until you realize that all of those extra heart beats per evening are physical work and demand energy. The lack of deep sleep can reduce the brain's cleaning lymphatic system.
The data gleaned is very useful for fine tuning your behavior to tap your best potential. I am a firm believer that the functional data will allow the user to see patterns of behavior that serve your physiology and visa versa. It, as always, is up to you to use the information for your benefit and longevity.
I see a future in medicine and sports where we wear devices that alert us to impending concerns from a health perspective. How awesome would it be for a child suffering from asthma to have a wearable device that alerts him or her to changes in lung function a day or so before a full blown attack rears its head. A cardiac patient to see changes in cardiac function well before a heart attack. This is a beautiful dream that is in our near future.
Keep you eyes and ears open to the new self health realizing trackers,