The pandemic and the lockdown have resulted in most of us becoming more conscious of our health and how we approach fitness. People are looking for ways to keep themselves away from binge eating and to stay motivated in sticking to a workout routine. And, this is where wearable fitness trackers come in.

Wearable fitness devices add an augmented intelligence edge into our lives, helping us stay aware of what we are eating, and the things we might be missing out in our daily routine. A wearable device often ends up becoming a step tracker when it can be used to achieve much more.

Our in-house expert, Rishabh Telang, has been using the data available on his wearable device to draw insights and make positive changes in his eating habits, exercise intensity, and mindfulness. Here in this post, he shares the five ways how he uses his fitness tracker to make decisions that impact how he exercises or eats.

Check Your Heart Rate Right After You Wake Up

Immediately after waking up, grab your fitness tracker, and measure your heart rate. If you find it's higher than usual, it probably means that your body was craving carbs while you were sleeping. Being in a carb deprived stage, especially when training hard, can limit your potential and slow down your body's post-exercise recovery speed.  Generally, you should increase the amount of carbs you consume during the day if there is an upward variation in your heart rate. It will allow you to recover at optimal speed and make the best out of your training routine.

Takeaway: Increase the carb quotient marginally till you find the right amount you need to consume.

Quality of Sleep and Exercise Intensity

Even if you are super fit, there will be days when you can benefit from dropping the intensity of your workout. If you aren’t able to get quality sleep at night, exercising later in the day will prove to be hard. Even if you decide to stick to your workout routine and exercise at the usual intensity, it will also bring more harm than good.

So, if you find your REM and Deep sleep percentages are below the optimal level, drop down the intensity of your workout session or substitute it with mobility or a light walking session. Working out at high intensity after a bad night's sleep will harm your body in the long run. In fact, it will make achieving your fitness goals even harder.

Our expert also recommends meditating if you have insomnia as it has the power to shift your thoughts from chaos to calm and improve your sleep pattern.

Calorie Expenditure Vs. Consumption

Your daily calorie expenditure varies based on the different activities you do throughout the day. Sometimes, you do a lot of high-intensity workouts, and your calorie expenditure just spikes skywards. On the other hand, you spend some days being sedentary and thereby not burning many calories.

Looking at exactly how much calories you burn every day will help you determine the ideal amount of calories you should consume. This method is especially beneficial for people who are trying to lose weight because the only real way to achieve fat loss is by being on a calorie deficit ‚Äď consume less than you burn.

Heart Rate Zones During Training

Heart rate zones can help you make your training more targeted. Training at peak heart rate zones might not always be beneficial. For instance, if weight/ fat loss is your primary goal, then doing low-intensity exercises for an extended period will be more beneficial. For this reason, experts recommend achieving 10-15K daily step limits to lose fat. Our expert recently dropped 4% body fat just by moving 15K steps a day.

Estimated Oxygen Variation

Estimated oxygen variation is the relative change in your blood oxygen saturation levels. Your blood oxygen saturation level is the percentage of your blood that contains oxygen. Typically, slight fluctuations are normal and are nothing to be worried about. However, huge variations might indicate breathing issues.

When one suffers from a lung problem, the levels of oxygen start falling. Hence, high fluctuations from your normal estimated oxygen variation might also be linked to an infection in the lower tract ‚Äď a sign for you to self-quarantine and make a trip to the doctor. ¬†

Here’s an interesting article that explains how a device manufacturer in America uses respiratory rate to predict COVID - 19 infections even before actual symptoms surfaces - The importance of respiratory rate tracking during the COVID - 19 pandemic.

We hope that these tips would help you get a better understanding of how you can use your fitness tracker more efficiently. Please do remember that these are not to be used as a proxy or a replacement for medical consultation and therefore, please do consult your health care professional about any questions or health concerns that you may have.

-Written by Rishabh Telang

Aug 1, 2020

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