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5 key health indicators you can track with your smartwatch

In light of the lifestyle changes, it is crucial to keep a consistent check on one’s physiological data to actively monitor physical health and wellbeing.
In light of the lifestyle changes, it is crucial to keep a consistent check on one’s physiological data to actively monitor physical health and wellbeing. (Pixabay)

Whether we manage to go back to our gyms or carry on working out at home, there are some key health indicators you need to keep an eye on to analyse your workouts right and also stay healthy. All these indicators can be tracked via your smartwatch so all you need is a device that covers these basics like heart rate, blood SpO2, etc.

With the current pandemic situation resulting in activity restrictions, staying healthy and fit has become a challenge. These sudden changes have brought about drastic lifestyle transformations, making it difficult to get into a routine. More than ever, it is critical for us to exercise regularly to boost our immunity.

With gyms, fitness centers, and clubs closed, meditation and exercising at home have become the newfound routine for fitness enthusiasts across the nation. In light of the lifestyle changes, it is crucial to keep a consistent check on one’s physiological data to actively monitor physical health and wellbeing.

World Health Organization’s “Clinical management of severe acute respiratory infection (SARI) when Covid-19 disease is suspected” Interim Guidance spotlights the importance of health monitoring data; one of the clinical syndromes is severe pneumonia where the patient may experience fever or suspected respiratory infection, plus respiratory rate of more than 30 breaths/min; severe respiratory distress; or SpO2 of less than 93% on room air.

Smartwatches from companies like Garmin, Apple, Fitbit, Amazfit, etc enable users to track their physiological data, providing daily insights into their health status. Garmin India has identified five key health indicators to enable users to track and manage their health profiles. Users should refer to data from their smartwatch with the five health indicators to identify any changes rather than depending solely on their own assumptions to determine their own health status.

Heart Rate

The heart is the pilot of all body activities. The health status can be effectively monitored by analysing your heart rates. It is generally believed that when the body temperature rises abnormally, the heart rate will increase; likewise, when the body temperature drops, the heart rate and strength of heart contractions will decrease accordingly. Those with a higher resting heart rate can indicate a higher risk of getting cardiovascular diseases. By doing regular exercises, the body’s sympathetic nervous activity decreases, which will lower the resting heart rate, improving the heart function and resulting in more flexible neuromodulation.

Respiratory Rate

Respiratory rate plays a critical role. The normal respiratory rate of a healthy adult is 12 – 20 breaths per minute (brpm). A low respiratory rate is a general indication of good health. Even while exercising, the respiratory rate of those with better physical fitness levels tends to be lower. There are many breathing techniques that can help you to manage your stress levels, relax and improve your concentration and sleep quality. Indulging in breathing exercises daily will help reduce anxiety and stress and keep the health on track.

Blood Oxygen Saturation

Blood oxygen saturation is closely related to lung health. Blood oxygen saturation (SpO2) refers to the concentration of oxygen in human blood, which is the key index to measure health. The ideal Spo2 level should be between 95 – 100%. A figure lower than 90% is considered too low, however, the figure may vary with individual physical differences. For instance, some people may feel discomfort at high altitudes because of the decrease in Spo2 levels. Monitoring how your body responds and changes with different blood oxygen saturation levels in different states can help you understand your own body better.

Sleep Monitoring

Your immunity is the first line of defense against viruses. Quality sleep is the key to maintaining healthy body functions. When people go to sleep, they experience several cycles of rapid eye movement and non-rapid eye movement. The non-rapid eye movement stage can be further divided into deep and light sleep. During the deep-sleep stage, the body will begin to repair, build bones, grow muscles, and enhance the immune system. In normal circumstances, a healthy adult will get approximately 15-25% of deep sleep each night. However, this figure varies amongst individuals. Garmin’s sleep monitoring function records the level of blood oxygen saturation and the number of times you toss and turn throughout the night so you can closely monitor your sleep quality.

Stress Monitoring

The tenser a situation is, the more we will need to stabilize our physical and mental states. When we are caught up in highly stressful situations over long periods of time, our physical and mental health can get affected from coping with the stress and these responses could be destructive to our health over time. Garmin’s stress detection function uses Heart Rate Variability (HRV) to estimate the body’s stress levels. Training, physical activities, sleeping conditions, mental state, and other daily activities will affect your stress levels. Garmin’s stress monitoring function measures stress levels from 0 to 100; 0-25 suggests a low-stress level, 26-50 suggests a moderate stress level, and 51-75 and 76-100 indicate high and extremely high-stress levels respectively. This function will enable you to monitor your daily stress levels.

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