Health data has come a long way since simply measuring your blood pressure at the doctor’s office every year or weighing yourself on the scale every so often. Today, we have numerous options for health wearables that can tell you everything you need to know about your physical health — and the data they give you can help you make informed decisions about optimizing your health. Here, we’ll break down the basics of three popular wearables and how you can use them for peak performance in certain health areas.
Continuous glucose monitor and blood sugar monitoring
A continuous glucose monitor (CGM) gives accurate glucose readings without the constant finger pricks. A sensor is inserted under your skin, and it measures your blood glucose (aka blood sugar) levels 24/7, sending the results to your wearable or your phone via a transmitter.
When your high blood sugar is too high, it can cause vomiting, unintentional weight loss, a rapid heart rate, increased risk of infections, and other complications. Meanwhile, low blood sugar can lead to difficulty concentrating, numbness, drowsiness, blurred vision, slurred speech,”sugar brain fog,” and more. By tracking your blood sugar with a CGM, you can identify when your blood sugar levels are high or low, how diet and exercise affect your blood sugar, and how other factors (such as illness or stress) affect your blood sugar. (FYI, here’s how to keep your blood sugar in check.) Then, you can start making changes to better manage your blood sugar (like working “exercise snacks” into your day or pairing carbs with protein and fats for less of a blood sugar spike).
Try this: If you have a CGM, try taking a walk before or after your meal to test your blood sugar response. Then, have the same meal again within the next few days but skip the walk. Compare your blood sugar responses.
Oura Ring and sleep tracking
The Oura Smart Ring is a premium sleep tracker, gathering important physical information via a sleek, minimalist ring worn on one of your fingers. It provides three daily scores: your sleep score, your readiness score, and your activity score, which are determined by your temperature, heart rate, heart rate variability (more on that here), and sleep quality.
While it tracks movement and activity, the Oura is known for its sleep-tracking abilities. It tracks how long you spent in each sleep stage, your blood oxygen levels, and your temperature. All of these metrics are important for understanding how certain lifestyle habits (say, that late cup of coffee) or stress can affect your sleep quality. With Oura’s research-grade sensors, you can experiment with what habits give you the best night of sleep. Does a five-minute meditation decrease the time it takes you to fall asleep? Which leads to a better night of sleep, a cold plunge, or a hot bath before bed? What about having carbs with dinner versus skipping them? Using information from the Oura, you can experiment with several habit changes that can improve your sleep quality, thus improving your health, happiness, and overall quality of life.
Try this: Take note of your usual sleep scores if you have an Oura ring. Then for the next week get outside first thing in the morning to get natural sunlight in your eyes to help with melatonin production. Notice if you see any changes in your sleep scores.
WHOOP and activity tracking
The WHOOP is a high-tech activity tracker with in-depth fitness and health feedback. Not only does it track your activity, recovery, and sleep, but it also uses that data to recommend what you should do next. For example, if your data shows you had an especially active day, your WHOOP might recommend taking a rest day or going to bed earlier.
The WHOOP also calculates a unique “Strain” score. Here’s how it works: Throughout the day, WHOOP tracks the physical and mental stress you encounter from exercise, stress, travel, lack of sleep, and more. To make it even easier, WHOOP automatically tracks activity in real-time (aka you don’t have to worry about logging workouts on your own). It translates that into a number from 1 to 21 (your Strain score) and recommends a target range to aim for so you don’t overdo it. With this data, you can decide whether to add activity to your day (say, by taking a walk after dinner) or whether to swap in a gentle yoga class for your usual run if your Strain score shows you’ve overexerted yourself.
These analytics are all incredibly helpful in reaching your health goals, and at Wild Health, we take that data to the next level. We incorporate your wearable data into our personalized health plans and recommendations for you so we can truly get a full picture of your current health. To learn more about how our precision medicine team can transform your well-being, schedule a complimentary 15-minute consultation with one of our Membership Advisors.
Try this: If you have a WHOOP, compare your HRV, recovery scores and sleep scores on days where you do an early morning workout vs days where you do a later morning workout.