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Should you have a Health Tracker?
I bit the bullet.
I’ve been looking at fitness/health trackers for a while now. My gripe was I didn’t want to wear something on my wrist. I’ve never had an apple watch or fitbit but I do think they provide value to the user. Especially if you’re trying to achieve a certain amount of movement for the day, or in competition with some friends.
Regardless, they are valuable.
With that being said, me being into health and always trying to become healthier I realized I probably needed one of these tracking devices.
What are you Looking for?
Once I started looking at health and fitness trackers I realized that I needed to have a better idea as to why I wanted one…or what was I looking to actually track? Fitbit’s have been around for years along with apple watches, and even Garmin watches. I know that Amazon had their own health tracker for a while too. They all seem like they do a good job at what they’re supposed to track.. The ones listed seem to primarily be for tracking exercise and movement. If you’re into training/working out, and that’s it, then those would probably be best for you! They track the calories burned, time of workout, along with heart rate a lot of the time.
I knew I was looking for more when it came down to the tracking side of things. Now there are some pretty great sleep trackers out there that can determine if you’re getting good rest. The apple watch even has this sort of capabilities. This is something that piqued my interest but when it came to it there were really only 2 options.
The Whoop or the Oura Ring.
Both have seen some mainstream media exposure over the past year. Many PGA golfers wear a whoop band. In 2020 when the NBA went to the Bubble for the remainder of their season they had a lot of the players wear the Oura Ring as a pre-detector of COVID-19.
The Difference between the Others
While both are wearables obviously, they are both vastly different from the devices previously mentioned. Yes they both track your activity and your sleep but they also track this one thing that I was particularly interested in. HEART RATE VARIABILITY! That might sound like 3 words that don’t mean much. Which if you’re just hearing them for the first time that makes complete sense. This phrase or idea is vitally important for your overall health and both the Whoop and Oura Ring track it.
Heart Rate Variability, or HRV, is a way to track how the body is responding to all of the changes we experience day to day. Things like waking up and getting out of bed, feeling a hot or cold temperature, exercising, sleep, stressful situations, eating and drinking, and pretty much every other event in life. It’s important that our bodies are able to adapt to all of these changes and situations throughout the day. If we aren’t able to adapt then we start to decline in health.
Studies have shown that having a low heart rate variability predisposes you to an increase in chronic health issues further down the line in life. As mentioned earlier, this feature of Whoop and Oura is why they’ve been used by athletes not only for overall health and recovery but also as an early detector for potential COVID cases. Obviously in this day and age this sort of indication is quite important but I would say it’s important all around. Everyday you’re able to check your HRV measure and the apps that sync up to the devices can let you know how recovered you are for the day which in turn can dictate how you spend your day. For instance, if it shows that you’re not fully recovered, or have a low HRV score, then it’s probably not a good idea to do a super intense workout. That sort of thing would tax your body even more putting your body into a state that would be unhealthy.
What did I Choose?
I ended up going with the Oura ring for a couple of reasons. The main reason being that I don’t like wearing things on my wrist, so that was pretty easy to choose. Another reason was pricing. Now the Whoop band is quite a bit cheaper on the front end, but it does require a monthly membership fee of $29 to have access to the information. The Oura ring starts out at $300 but there is no ongoing fee for the information. You simply take it out of the box, download the app, and slip it on your finger. There is a sizing kit available when you order so you’re able to get that sent to you, then when you know your size you contact them and they’ll send out your ring. The app is very intuitive as it’s constantly updating and it seems to start to learn about your body and make changes due to that learning which is really cool. I’ve only had the ring for a few days so it’s all still very new to me but I will say that I’m enjoying getting to learn more about my habits, exercise, as well as sleep. I’m now aware that I need to get to bed at an earlier time (something my girlfriend has been harassing me about, so I guess she’s been right).
If you’re curious about your overall health and how you may be able to start tracking things a little more than just how you feel, then a health tracking device might be perfect for you. At this time I believe Oura and Whoop to be the best options out there. Whoop did just announce their new 4.0 strap which I believe will have briefs for men, and a bra attachment for women. Even though they’re coming out with that I still don’t feel comfortable having a wearable piece of technology close to my reproductive organs as there hasn’t been enough research to prove that to be safe quite yet. I hope you found this be interesting and if you have any questions don’t hesitate to reach out!
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