Wearable tech to keep you healthy and fit in 2019

By Naveed Saleh, MD, MS, for MDLinx
Published November 30, 2018

Key Takeaways

If you're looking for something fun and healthy for yourself, now's a good time to look into wearable tech with fitness applications.

According to results of a national survey jointly conducted by the Pew Research Center and Smithsonian magazine, 59% of American adults believe that technological advances will improve quality of life. Chief among such advances is wearable tech. More than one-third (37%) of survey respondents agreed that it would be a change for the better if most people wore implants or other devices that constantly monitor their surrounding world.

With that in mind, let's look at six wearable technologies great for the physician interested in physical fitness.

Oculus Rift

The Oculus Rift is a virtual reality headset created by Oculus VR, a division of Facebook. Fitness games for the Rift can increase heart rate and target either specific muscle groups or offer full-body workouts, enabling you to get your sweat on. These games are perfect for people at all levels of fitness, and cover a broad range of interests, including boxing, sprinting, sword fighting, and dancing.

Apple Watch

Apple redesigned, re-engineered, and re-imagined the Apple Watch Series 4. This new iteration has a larger screen and a faster, 64-bit processor. "Narrower borders enable a viewing area that's over 30% larger, while a new display technology called LTPO improves power efficiency, helping you get through the day on a single charge," according to Apple. With an upcoming app, the device will even take an electrocardiogram right on your wrist. A variety of other fitness apps—designed to help you lose weight, work out, and track healthy behaviors—are also available for the Apple Watch.

Xiaomi Mi Band 3

The Apple Watch will set you back a few hundred dollars, but if you're tracking your health on a budget, try the Xiaomi Mi Band 3, a nifty waterproof, wearable fitness tracker that costs less than $40. In addition to telling time, this gadget logs sleep patterns, heart rate, steps, distance, pace, and calories burned. Plus, the Xiaomi Mi Band 3 links with your phone to show caller ID, text messages, and social media notifications.

Coros Omni Smart Cycling Helmet

You may be surprised to learn that new-age bicycle helmets not only protect your brain but also entertain you with technology. The Coros Omni Smart Cycling Helmet sports a bone-conduction audio system, which lets you stream music by Bluetooth, as well as a built-in microphone with noise cancellation to block out the sound of traffic. A remote attaches to your handlebars and links to your phone to give you easy access to answer calls, adjust volume, and play or pause music. Additionally, a pair of LED lights on the back of the helmet enables drivers to see you in inclement or dark conditions. A single charge provides about 8 hours of juice.

Garmin Forerunner 735XT

The Garmin Forerunner 735XT is a premium piece of high tech, perfect for world-class triathletes and those striving to be one. This watch provides detailed data for a multitude of sports—running, cycling, swimming, hiking, cross-country skiing, paddle sports, and more. This watch is both light and comfortable, with a soft silicone band, and can sync with your smartphone to receive notifications and live tracking. The Garmin Forerunner 735XT also offers round-the-clock heart rate monitoring, VO2 max estimate, lactate threshold, and race time prediction. Finally, this watch automatically uploads activity data to Garmin Connect and is equipped with audio prompts, music controls, and social media sharing.

Motiv Ring

For those who don't want to be weighed down with a smartwatch or even a fitness band, the Motiv Ring is a handy option. This ring is sleek, stylish, waterproof, and has a titanium shell for extra durability. Wear it round the clock to keep tabs on heart rate, sleep, and steps. It charges up by plugging into any USB port, and goes for 3 days on a single jolt. The Motiv Ring may be more rudimentary than other fitness trackers, but that should probably be expected with its size.

MDLinx has no financial interest in any of the products mentioned.

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