We’re in the middle of a pandemic, so it’s safe to say that health and wellness have been on everyone’s mind of late, and unsurprisingly, the health and wellness industry has grown.
In 2018, the global health and wellness industry was valued at an estimated $4.5 trillion. Additionally, as more people are on-the-go and too busy to spend time on health matters, there is now a growing demand for portable devices that can help them keep their healthy routine and ease their conditions even when they are out and about. In fact, some analysts expect the fitness tracking technologies market to grow by as much 20% annually going forward.
With an emergence of these health related gadgets, it begs the question, which technologies provide the most value?
Nearly one-third of deaths in Singapore are caused by cardiovascular disease. For this reason, individuals are often interested in tracking their blood pressure. However, blood pressure tests may seem like an inconvenient, time consuming, and even expensive undertaking.
Fortunately, portable blood pressure monitors are now increasingly affordable and accurate, and can be easily purchased online. For example, our research suggests that the Omron Smart Elite blood pressure monitor costs about S$175, which includes free delivery and a 5-year warranty.
Meanwhile, a visit to a general practitioner typically costs S$47.25 – S$125 per visit. This means that individuals that plan to check their blood pressure a handful of times a year will easily break even, and those that need frequent checks will save even more. Not only that, the Omron Smart Elite, which is lightweight and can be synced to a mobile app for reviewing past and current records. Additionally by acquiring the monitor, blood pressure tracking can be conducted more regularly, hence ensuring that users can always be well informed about their health.
As mentioned above, good heart health should be a point of emphasis for all individuals. While tracking your blood pressure is a great idea, it is also important to maintain an active lifestyle in order to maintain and improve your general health. Thankfully, new technologies allow us to monitor our fitness goals and even our heart rates. Whether you are working out or doing your usual errands, these devices can track your heart-rates with sensors and algorithms to reveal insights about your body, fitness and health.
Consumers may not know where to start as there are a variety of fitness watches available. For those with a bigger budget, the latest Series 6 Apple Watch could be a good fit. This device features a number of fitness related tracking functions including an ECG function that flags risks of irregular heart rhythms. A feature on the new watch also allows you to check for blood oxygen levels. However, the Apple Watch costs S$599, which may deter those seeking a more affordable option.
Alternatively, Garmin (S$299) and Fitbit (S$188) offer competitive products with great features as well. For example, Garmin Forerunner 45 incorporates an easy-to-use heart-rate monitor with GPS to track work-out pace and distance. It also provides training plans that bring personalised coaching information through the watch.
Besides heart health, many individuals have the specific goal to lose weight. Keeping your body slim and fit can be a lot easier if you can monitor your metabolism and track it to optimise your diet and fitness plans.
The Lumen Metabolism Tracker claims to do all of those things. By breathing into the device, the tracker will be able to track our metabolism, sleep, nutrition, and fitness data. It can also tell if we have enough energy before a workout or whether we need to re-organise our diet for the day to improve our metabolism. Priced at S$490, this portable device has very few competitors in the market that offers such an easy-to-use model. Another metabolism tracker is the Breezing, which is available for pre-order only (~S$355) through a crowdfunding page. The device currently only works with Android, though the creators are actively working on an iPhone version.
However, are these devices really worth their high prices? This depends on your perspective. If we can compare the cost of purchasing a Lumen with taking a 30-day Keto diet, which claims to fix a sluggish metabolism, acquiring a Lumen may help to establish a longer-term method of maintaining wellness if one is self-disciplined enough to follow through with the recommendations provided by the device. Additionally, the Keto method can actually cost significantly more than a balanced diet. In the end, it is best to consult a doctor before making any significant changes to your diet or investing in a metabolism tracker.
According to a study conducted with 43 cities, Singapore is ranked as the third most sleep-deprived. Chronic sleep deprivation can significantly affect our health, work performance, safety, and even lead to depression. Nursing a sleep disorder can be a costly affair, even a subsidised polysomnogram, which is an in-laboratory sleep study, costs S$708 at Singapore General Hospital (SGH), and this does not even cover the treatment. For that matter, many sleep gadgets have been invented to improve sleep quality, reduce anxiety and mood without the need to visit a sleep specialist. One such product is the Philip Stein Sleep Bracelet that uses natural frequency to strengthen the human biomagnetic field and restore the body’s ability to sleep deeply and restfully.
- Philip Stein Sleep Bracelet: S$385
- Philips Somneo Sleep: S$286
- Withings Sleep Tracking Pad: $245
There are also cheaper options like the Philips Somneo Sleep and Withings Sleep Tracking Pad, which promise to regulate sleep cycles and heal sleep disorders. However, given that these devices do cost hundreds of dollars, we recommend that you consult your primary care physician to make sure investment is a good fit for your health needs.
Health treatments do not work the same way for all people, similarly, health care technology may need a fair bit of trial and error before you can find the right fit for your needs. The trick is to identify the well-researched and well-developed technological products that can help to improve your health and well-being. When you get the right fit, it can even prevent serious conditions or cure diseases with little effort at a relatively low cost.
This article was first published in ValueChampion.