Most commercial wearable trackers, such as the Apple Watch, Fitbit and Oura Ring, were developed as consumer devices to help people monitor and improve their fitness levels, healthy eating, and stress management. While these tools are not designed to support care management in a clinical context, they are a great way to take some aspects of your health into your own hands. But could the pressure of hitting your goals on your wearables be stressing you out?
Researchers from The University of Copenhagen conducted a study which found that while activity trackers can sometimes be reassuring, they can also potentially create new anxieties and obsessions.
It’s being referred to as “smartwatch-induced health anxiety.” Cardiologists are finding that part of the problem comes from the constant access to on-demand health information, which is creating a pattern of pathological symptom monitoring. People are not just obsessing over their heart rate and fitness data. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, people are also fixated on their breathing rate and blood oxygen levels.
The chance that someone might develop health anxiety while using a wearable doesn’t detract from their potential benefits, but it is an issue that doctors and tech companies are monitoring.
So what can we do to help?
If you find yourself in an anxious state from your wearable, working with a Functional Medicine Certified Health Coach (FMCHC) can help break down your wearable information so that you can understand and use it effectively to benefit you.
Health coaching is effective for people managing a variety of health conditions. According to a study in The American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine, health coaching results in clinically relevant improvements in multiple biomarker risk factors (including systolic and diastolic blood pressure, total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, triglycerides, fasting glucose, body weight, body mass index, waist circumference, and cardiorespiratory fitness) in diverse populations.
Functional Medicine Certified Health Coaches empower others to take charge of their own health. They are the key to making a healthy lifestyle change accessible and long-lasting because they are equipped with the training, experience, tools, and expertise to be able to support you and meet you where you are.
Unlike health fads that come and go, health coaching has strong evidence backing its effectiveness for improving health and well-being. Working with a Functional Medicine Health Coach can help you use your wearable tracker to the fullest of its ability, and support you in creating healthy, sustainable lifestyle change!
Published: January 7, 2022