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Elemental
Your life, sourced by science. A publication from Medium about health and wellness.

Wearables

In Elemental. More on Medium.

Researchers have known for years that wearables could be useful for detecting illness. Now they’re exploring whether fitness devices could help track and even contain Covid-19.

Photo: Mark Cacovic/Getty Images

As a runner, I live by my fitness tracker data — not just to record pace and distance, but to determine how I slept the night before, measure how recovered my body is from my last workout, and see how my training is progressing. I check my data every morning when I wake up, and after every run.


The New New

From sewer sludge to mosquito repellant, one scientist is exploring how daily exposures determine our health

Illustration: Kevin VQ Dam

Our health is a combination of genetics and environment. Maybe someone’s genes make them vulnerable to high blood pressure, for example, but by watching what they eat — in effect, controlling their body’s environment — they can keep their numbers within normal levels.


Health trackers could be valuable if they measured more data

Credit: T3 Magazine/Getty Images

Steps, calories, heart rate, blood pressure, sleep, menstrual cycle: Today there are all sorts of ways to measure, track, analyze, and judge your body’s functioning. According to a survey from earlier this year, 34% of adults reported using mobile health apps, primarily for monitoring heart rate and exercise; 27% said they use fitness wearables. And more of these products are coming down the pipe: Rumors that Apple may add a sleep-tracking app to the Apple Watch continue to spread, and the wearables industry is estimated to grow by 20% each year for the next half-decade.


When health-focused wearable devices spark obsession, anxiety, and shame

Credit: kali9/E+/Getty

For Sheena Roetman, wearing a fitness tracker felt like walking around under a spotlight.

Elemental

Your life, sourced by science. A publication from Medium about health and wellness.

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