We’ve seen an increase in the ownership of smartwatches and it is no surprise since most of us use it as a way to monitor our health while we’re on-the-go. But, as technology advances so do the software behind our smart devices which can make it difficult for us to understand what the different functions are and how they can help with improving our lifestyles.
Since most of us are staying at home, it is crucial to be aware of our body and equip ourselves with the tools to keep a healthy lifestyle. To help make wearable tech easy for us to digest and understand the benefits we’re getting, here is a breakdown on how common smartwatch features can better assist us with monitoring our health during the current global pandemic.
MONITORING HEART RATE
As we all know, the heart is the pilot of all our body activities and we can effectively monitor our health status by analysing our heart rates. It is generally believed that when our body temperature rises abnormally, our heart rate will increase, and when our body temperature drops, so does our heart rate and the strength of our heart contractions. This essentially means that when our body has a fever, our heart rate will be higher than usual.
However, those with a higher resting heart rate can indicate a higher risk of getting cardiovascular diseases. Most smartwatches are able to help you monitor this by showing you how you can optimise your efforts during your regular workouts to help decrease your body’s sympathetic nervous activity, which will, in turn, lower the resting heart rate and improve your heart function for more flexible neuromodulation.
MONITORING RESPIRATORY RATE
Our respiratory rate plays a critical role in the overall upkeep of our body and it is crucial to keep it just right. The normal respiratory rate of a healthy adult is 12 to 20 breaths per minute (brpm), and a low respiratory rate generally indicates that we are in good health. Even while exercising, the respiratory rate of those with better physical fitness levels tends to be lower.
Majority of the smartwatches available on the market now are able to track your breathing in some form, giving you a clearer indicator of when you’ll need to use breathing techniques to help you relax and manage your stress levels while improving your concentration and sleep quality.
MONITORING BLOOD OXYGEN SATURATION
Closely related to our lung health, blood oxygen saturation (SpO2) refers to the concentration of oxygen in human blood and is the key index used to measure our health. The ideal SpO2 level should be between 95% to 100%. Any figure lower than 90% is considered too low but it should be noted that the figure varies with individual physical differences. For instance, some people may feel discomfort at high altitudes because of the decrease in SpO2 levels.
Using your smartwatch to help monitor how your body responds and changes with different blood oxygen saturation levels in different states can help you understand your own body better and help you to maintain the appropriate SpO2 level your body requires.
It is often said that our immunity is the first line of defence against viruses which is why getting quality sleep is so important to maintaining healthy body functions. When we go to sleep, we experience several cycles of rapid even movement and non-rapid eye movement — a stage that can be further divided into a deep and light sleep. During the deep-sleep stage, our body will begin to repair, build bones, grow muscles and enhance the immune system.
In normal circumstances, a healthy adult should and would get approximately 15% to 25% of deep sleep each night. However, the number does vary amongst individuals. With the sleep monitoring feature, you’ll get help closely monitoring your sleep quality with the record of blood oxygen saturation levels as well as the number of times you toss and turn throughout the night.
While we’re mostly able to tell when we get stressed out, we sometimes are not aware of the unseen effects it can have on our bodies. The more tense a situation is, the more we will need to stabilise our physical and mental states. Our physical and mental health can get affected by coping with stressful situations over long periods of time, and how our body responses could be destructive to our health over time.
Garmin, Fitbit and Samsung’s smartwatches are some of the known brands which use Heart Rate Variability (HRV) as part of their stress detection feature to help estimate and monitor our body’s daily stress levels from training, physical activities, sleeping conditions, mental state and other daily activities. It measures stress levels from 0 to 100 with 0 to 25 suggesting a low-stress level, 26 to 50 suggesting a moderate stress level, 51 to 75 suggesting a high-stress level, and 76 to 100 indicating an extremely high-stress level.
Boost your immunity by ensuring you do at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercises each week. Incorporating a mix of strength and cardio exercises as part of your daily routine can help to improve the efficiency of blood delivery to the whole body while strengthening your body’s metabolism and promote muscle recovery that helps in building your immunity.
Garmin smartwatches provide beneficial insights by monitoring the intensity of your workout alongside your heart rate to provide recommended recovery times that ensure you get proper rest in between activities.
SMARTWATCHES TO CONSIDER
Garmin Legacy Hero
Here’s one for the Marvel fans! The Garmin Legacy Hero special edition smartwatch is inspired by Captain America and Captain Marvel and features themed elements to elevate the superhero experience alongside a full suite of smart and health monitoring features as well as Built-in Sports Apps.
Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 (Under Armour Edition)
Apart from its regular functions as a smartwatch, the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 (Under Armour Edition) features real-time Form Coaching and audio guidance that can help you set and achieve your running goals. The personalised guidance will monitor your unique cadence and provide personalised feedback that can help make running feel easier and reduce your risk of injury.
The Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 (Under Armour Edition) retails at $398 and is available in Aqua Black with Mod Grey. You can purchase it from the official Samsung store on Shopee here.
Fitbit Versa 2 (Special Edition)
The Fitbit Versa 2 is a smartwatch that helps you to elevate your daily routine. From being able to set alarms and reminders with your voice to monitoring your overall health, the wearable is able to guide you through your day using their patented SmartTrack technology that tracks your movements all-day including your workouts without pushing any buttons.
Apple Watch Series 5
With the Always-On Retina display, you’ll be able to see the time and your Apple Watch Series 5 clock face anytime you like. Equipped with health monitoring apps such as the ECG app, the watch is capable of generating an ECG that is similar to a single-lead electrocardiogram. In addition to the common health tracking and monitoring tools, the Apple Watch also has a female-focused Cycle Tracking App, which gives an insight into the menstrual cycle to help track irregularities and provide a clearer picture of a woman’s overall health.
Huawei Watch GT2
Using Huawei’s self-developed wearable chip, the Kirin A1, the Huawei Watch GT2 integrates a high-quality 3D glass face to create a bezel-less vision. The smartwatch is equipped with the tools you need to keep healthy as well as the TruSeen 3.5 feature which tracks your workouts with precise positioning systems and monitors your heart rate accurately.