Each week, Dr. Mauk shares thoughts relevant to Baby Boomers that are aimed to educate and amuse.
It’s no surprise that in the digital age, in addition to apps and online services, wearable technology is paving the way for better health outcomes for people of all ages. What exactly is wearable technology? Essentially any portable device which you can wear on your person, like a necklace, pendant, bracelet, clip, and so on, that serves a technological function like syncing fitness and medical data to the cloud, or sending alert signals to call for help.
Wearable technology continues to evolve and benefit people’s physical and emotional health. Check out how in this quick guide:
Medical Alert Technology
If you have mobility issues, have been hospitalized or gone to the E.R. in the past year, or simply suffer from a condition where you may require fast access to emergency services (i.e. diabetes, Parkinson’s), you may be looking into getting a medical alert system. While stationary medical alert systems in your home are helpful, so are wearable medical alert accessories when you head out the door.
Portable medical alert accessories may range from pendants to clip-ons to bracelets and serve a variety of purposes. Often most affordable but most overlooked is the novelty medical alert bracelets which feature a metal plate engraved with your personal and health information including an emergency contact. More technologically-advanced bracelets, however, come equipped with a discreetly hidden USB drive that stores all your personal health information. Other medical alert accessories feature buttons, on a necklace, for example, that can be pushed to give off loud alarm sounds and ward off potential attackers or call someone for help.
Wearable fitness trackers like Fitbit, Bellabeat, and Motiv Ring all continue to be popular accessories among younger generations, however, they have their place with the senior demographic too. A wearable fitness tracker is typically like a watch, pendant, or piece of jewelry you wear that can track important health data based on the activity of your body. More closely monitoring your physical activity can help you better achieve your fitness goals and maintain a healthy weight.
Important information like the number of steps you take in a day, your pulse rate, sleep patterns, calories burned, oxygen utilization, and fitness goals achieved can all be tracked these days with this type of advanced wearable technology. If you would rather not wear anything additional and simply take advantage of the smartphone you carry around in your pocket anyway, looking into the Health app(s) available to you via your phone’s operating system or app library. You can both enter personal health data in there as well as track physical activity and more.
Are poor posture habits a pain in your neck (literally)? While “sitting up straight” might seem like your only course of action, turns out there are technological solutions designed to help you as well. Apps like Perfect Posture and Posture Zone can be downloaded to your phone and customized to alert you (via vibrations in your pocket) when you are slumping or slouching.
Wearable accessories like Lumo Lift Posture Coach are even more discreet, lightweight solutions you wear near your collarbone. This posture coach tool uses biomechanical motion sensors to track both your activity levels as well as your posture during the day. If you start to slouch or crane your head and shoulders forward, it gently vibrates to alert you to fix your posture.