Smartwatches and fitness trackers should consider a “pause” button

One thing wearable makers have learned during a pandemic is that people are stressed. There is a good reason for that. As a result, companies such as Fitbit and Apple are expanding their stress management and mindfulness capabilities with the latest products and services. But while it’s encouraging to see wearable makers admit that mental health is part of their overall health, there’s still one big oversight. Modern wearables are basically focused on building and maintaining streaks.

Whether you’re achieving 10,000 steps daily, burning certain calories, or setting your reminders to move hourly, most wearables aim to help you build better health habits. is. Consistency is key to that. No one has denied it. But any athlete or doctor will tell you that rest and recovery are very important to your overall health, preventing injuries and avoiding motivational burnout.

Unfortunately, most wearables, even if justified, cannot give a break-even point. It’s not just built into their programming.

Take your Apple Watch with you. Apple’s Fitness app revolves around closing three rings. That is, the calorie burner ring, the number of minutes you spend active, and how many hours you stand in a day. In the awards section, you can earn badges such as “Longest Travel Streak” and “Perfect Week” for each ring. Basically, you are rewarded for achieving your daily goals over a long period of time — whether it is what your body and mind are currently in need of.

Apple Watch puts consistency first and foremost.
Photo by Vjeran Pavic / The Verge

Apple isn’t the only one guilty of this. Fitbit, Garmin, and all other fitness trackers in the sun also use gamification as a motivational tool. You can feel amazing when you’re in the zone, but ironically, breaking streaks for reasons you can’t control can be intriguing. And the longer the streak, the more intriguing it is when you inevitably break it.

Being a wearable reviewer means that you are very consistent with your training schedule. But even I sometimes get sick, get injured, and have big life events that require me to fall off the horse for a long time. In such cases, simply pressing the “Pause” button is convenient.

Earlier this year, I was so absorbed in continuing the streak that this time I ignored the signs that I was overtraining. The result is a nasty case of Shin Splint. Common sense ordered me to dismiss the regimen until I was completely healed. However, even though I was doing my best for my health, I couldn’t help feeling the pain of breaking the 90-day streak. This scenario is not uncommon. If you read smartwatches and fitness forums carefully, you’ll find that some people are plagued by streaks and are obsessed with losing any goal “credit”.

This doesn’t mean that wearable companies and fitness apps aren’t going in the right direction. With the Fitbit Charge 4, the company has moved from any 10,000-step goal to a new metric called Active Zone Minutes (AZM). What highlights this change is that AZM focuses on weekly activity levels rather than daily sources. This year, the company also added what is called the Daily Readiness Score. This helps users decide how active they should be based on their body’s signals and previous activity. With watchOS 6, Apple will contextualize its progress over the last 90 days by comparing it to its annual average.[トレンド]Added a tab. This year’s watchOS 8 update also added a number of mindfulness tools, but they focus on meditation rather than recovery. (There’s still a lot of demand for Apple Watch’s native sleep tracking.) These are all steps in the right direction, but most mainstream wearables are penalized for requiring physical or mental breaks. There is no way to stay motivated without imposing. Sometimes.

The closest wearable is recovery-focused Ouraling. A “good” activity score is defined as achieving a calorie goal 3-4 times a week, and last year a new rest mode was added. In rest mode, the ring snoozes the activity goal and readjusts the score to prioritize recovery. But Oura Ring is also a niche health wearable that lacks many of the smart features that people have come to expect.

Smartwatches and fitness trackers are great tools for anyone who wants to develop better habits. But people are not machines. You don’t have to be ashamed of breaking muscles or losing strength during the recovery period. This also applies to those who deal with the hardships of life. No one wants to get a reminder to move when they’re having a funeral or having a tough time. A button that pauses streaks, mutes motivational reminders, and ideally automatically sets simpler goals based on metrics when you’re finally ready to return to your normal routine. You should be able to press. That way, people will not want to give up and will have the tracker collect dust in the drawers.

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