The modern fitness wearable had humble beginnings. Around a decade ago, they were more pedometer than they were health monitoring system. But times have changed. The new lineup of these convenient devices can do everything from monitor your heart rate to taking your blood pressure to even performing an ECG. Oh, and they still track how many steps you take too. We will take a closer look at six of these next-generation wearables and how they can benefit consumers and even assist in remote doctor care.
Fitness and health
Price: Starts at $399
One of the undoubted leaders in wearable technology is Apple. And the Apple Watch Series 6 continues that tradition. The latest version of Apple’s line of smartwatches has features you’d expect. Such as a sharp always-on retina display, GPS to track your runs, and a swim-proof design that allows you to log your laps. However, it’s the newer features that have made those pedometer days seem light-years away. You can now check your heart rhythm and measure your blood oxygen levels. The latter has come in handy during the pandemic—a perfect wearable for remote care or just personal use. The Apple Watch Series 6 has a five-star Amazon review with over 32,000 ratings.
The Fitbit Charge 4 is a good choice for those looking for tracking on a budget. For approximately $100, the newest Fitbit Charge has a built-in GPS, oxygen saturation monitoring, and even a skin temperature sensor. One of the additional benefits of the Fitbit Charge 4 is a menstrual health tracking option. That along with the Fitbit app can record symptoms and the timing of your cycle.
Garmin has a more fitness-focused product, but that doesn’t mean it’s not packed with features. Like the previously mentioned Apple Watch Series 6 and Fitbit Charge 4, the Vivocactive 4 has a Pulse Ox sensor and heart rate monitor. However, this rugged watch is designed with the outdoor athlete in mind and is an excellent choice for those who hit the trail to improve their health rather than taking a heart rhythm reading.
AliveCor’s KardiaMobile device isn’t a nifty watch that lets you know how much further you need to run to reach this week’s goal. It has one purpose, to take an instant EKG. Touted as the “world’s most clinically validated EKG,” KardiaMobile is an easy-to-use option when you need to assess your heart’s health. Within 30 seconds, an EKG reading can be taken and sent to a physician– from anywhere in the world.
In 2018 alone, nearly 500,000 people lost their lives in the United States due to high blood pressure (CDC). Preventing these deaths is the inspiration behind the Omron HeartGuide. So, you probably guessed it, the HeartGuide’s claim to wearable fame is its ability to measure blood pressure accurately. Although, unlike the KardiaMobile, the HeartGuide does a bit more than provide you with a medical benefit. This handy watch can also track your fitness and monitor your sleep.
The Owlet Smart Sock isn’t a monitor targeted to athletes, the heart-health conscious, or those who want a better night of sleep before work. It’s all about your baby. Taking baby monitoring to a new level, the Smack Sock tracks your baby’s oxygen levels, heart rate, and sleep trends. The Smart Sock features a 16-hour battery life and fits babies up to 18-months old.
Wearable technology won’t be completely replacing in-person doctor visits for certain issues anytime soon. But these handy devices give a solid snapshot of the wearer’s health and can ultimately save lives. Oh, and most of them still track your steps.