In the digital age, we rely on our electronics for just about everything. The manufacturers who create multilayer printed circuit boards (which typically come in layers of four, six, eight, or 10) have been forced to create even smaller products so that we can use and even wear the newest forms of technology. Wearable tech can empower and connect us in new ways — and if you use them correctly, they can help you achieve your health resolutions for 2019.
Fitness trackers like the Apple Watch and Fitbit can help you start the new year off on the right foot. Currently, less than 5% of adults participate in 30 minutes of physical activity on a daily basis. But if you’re armed with a fitness tracker, you’ll be much more aware of your inactivity. A national survey conducted by the Pew Research Center and Smithsonian Magazine found that 59% of Americans believe technological advances will improve their quality of life, with 37% of respondents saying that wearing implants and other monitoring devices could change their lives for the better.
That idea may not be far-fetched, either. Adults who do more than seven hours of physical activity per week actually have a longer life expectancy, so it’s entirely possible that wearing a device that can remind you to move or keep you informed of your activity levels could serve as a major source of overall improvement and longevity.
It’s no surprise, then, that wearable technology was predicted to be the most popular fitness trend for 2019 by the American College of Sports Medicine. Wearables are now more accurate than they used to be, which allows for more meaningful monitoring.
As survey author Dr. Walter R. Thompson noted in the published report, “Technology is a must-have in our daily lives, and wearable tech can be an invaluable tool for those looking to get and stay physically active… We can easily monitor heart rate, count steps, track calories and create plans. The data collected by wearable technology can be used to inform the user and their health care team about important daily health metrics like physical activity, and it encourages healthier lifestyle choices.”
Fitness trackers are now so popular that some insurance companies are offering discounts to encourage people to become more active. This past year alone, approximately 6 million global employees were able to receive fitness trackers as a component of their workplace wellness programs. Many of those programs provide these wearables for free or at a discounted price in exchange for decreased insurance premiums or other financial incentives. Since healthy people help both insurers and employers save money, the benefits are pretty clear for all involved.
And while millennials are thought to be the most likely consumers to wear fitness trackers, it looks like wearables may be becoming much more popular with older generations. Smart watch growth is expected to surge by 15% among people aged 55 and above next year. Awareness about the benefits of wearables is increasing, to be sure, but devices like Fitbit and Apple Watch now come with heart monitoring technology that may have particular appeal among senior consumers. Increased physical activity can certainly lower cardiac disease risk — for example, cycling 20 miles per week can reduce coronary heart disease by 50% — so investing in a fitness tracker with heart monitoring capabilities may prove especially helpful for those who want to reduce their risk factors and experience all the other benefits of a more active lifestyle.
Whether your goal is to shed some pounds, embrace a more active lifestyle, or to keep your ticker in check, wearable technology can take a lot of the guess work out of the process. And if you can get some financial incentive or some style points out of it, even better.