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Can wearables help manage stress proactively?

Article-Can wearables help manage stress proactively?

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Managing stress is crucial for preventing high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease, among other health conditions.

Stress is the body’s natural response to life’s ups and downs. It can be defined as a reaction to a thought or an event that negatively impacts one’s emotions and can sometimes result in adverse behavioural responses. Even though some stress can be necessary for our well-being, mainly it can unfavourably affect the body and its functioning, especially if it is experienced over a long period. Managing stress is essential for preventing health conditions such as high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, obesity and depression.

Thanks to healthcare technology advancements, today’s wearables help people listen and tune into their bodies overall. For example, most devices can provide information about an individual’s sleep patterns and fitness levels. However, having access to a daily snapshot, for instance, through Fitbit’s Daily Readiness Score, gives one an insight into their activity levels, heart rate variability, and sleep every day and can go a long way in helping manage stress proactively.

Joanne Savage, Director Marketing EMEA Fitbit, Google, explained: “The Daily Readiness Score is one of our most popular features and is available for premium users. It calculates data over time, helps users understand the activity, heart rate variability, and sleep, and combines it all to let them know how ready they feel for the next day. Once they receive the score, users will get recommendations for a tailored workout or mindfulness session, depending on where their readiness is.”

Joanne Savage_Director Marketing EMEA_Fitbit_Google (2)-min.jpg

Joanne Savage

She highlighted that Fitbit’s Sense 2 device features a continuous Electrodermal Activity (EDA) scan app, which tracks changes in heart rate and electrodermal responses and can see how a body responds during mindfulness sessions. The EDA sensors, along with heart rate, heart rate variability and skin temperature tracking, can help track physical indications of stress. Over the course of time, it can help one look back at moments that caused them stress and understand how they were feeling at that time. Additionally, the Stress Management Score can give an insight into how prepared an individual is to tackle the day’s challenges or if they need time to rebalance.

“Our goal is to make the invisible visible and to get people to listen to their bodies,” Savage added. “While these devices don’t offer medical advice, they can nudge users in the right direction. Once you get to know yourself, you are the best person to act and are in a better place to break the cycle of stress. By keeping track through the health metrics dashboard and habit forming, users will have a more informed view of their health and well-being. We want to give users enough data and insights to help them take quick action on their health journeys.”

This article appears in the Daily Dose 2023. Read the full issue online today.

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