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Do Fitness Trackers Make Us Healthier? (with Kristen Holmes, VP of Performance Science at WHOOP)
Episode 472nd May 2023 • Your Doctor Friends • Dr. Jeremy Alland and Dr. Julie Bruene
00:00:00 01:08:41

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Do you wear a fitness tracker? Is it a wristwatch, a ring, a belt? Do these devices actually help improve our health? How can we know?

Wearable health tracking technology has grown immensely over the past decade. Yahoo Finance reports that the global consumer healthcare sensor market revenues reached US$ 49.1 billion in 2022 and by the end of 2032, the worldwide Consumer Healthcare Sensor Market size is likely to reach a valuation of US$ 94 billion.

While sales are clearly good and Your Doctor Friends have personally bought in, do we know if these are actually helping?

Ultimately, we want to ask “Will more data make us healthier?” which also happens to be the title of a NYTimes article from 2020 in the On Tech section by Shira Ovide. 

Thankfully in this episode, we have an expert in performance science and wearable technology here to tell us about how accurate this data is, what data we should care about and probably most importantly, how we interpret and use this data to make us healthier.

Welcome Kristin Holmes, VP of Performance Science at WHOOP!

  • Kristen has an MIT Sloan Artificial Intelligence Certificate, a Masters in Psychology and Sports Performance and is a Ph.D. Candidate, University of Queensland for Psychology
  • Kristen works with hundreds of the best tactical, professional, surgical teams, corporate, and NCAA Athlete Teams in the world, helping them interpret WHOOP data to optimize training, recovery, and sleep behavior.  
  • Her research focuses on the temporal organization of circadian influences and their effect on physiological and psychological resilience.
  • Kristen was a 3x All American, 2x Big 10 Athlete of the year at the University of Iowa, competing in both Field Hockey and Basketball.
  • She also went on to be one of the most successful field hockey coaches in Ivy League history, having won 12 league titles in 13 seasons and a National Championship at Princeton University. 

Topics in this episode include:

What are the basic concepts behind wearable fitness tech? (Apple Watch, Fitbit, Garmin Watch, WHOOP?)

Is the information accurate? How do we know?

Is there a location on the body (wrist, hand, forearm, waist, etc) where data collection is most accurate?

What are the most important metrics evaluated? (for example, WHOOP uses categories/scores such as "strain, recovery, and sleep")

What goes into these scores?

How should users interpret these scores?

What are common ways that users might misinterpret this data?

(and the million dollar question...) Does this data actually make us healthier??


Just click HERE to access one FREE MONTH of any WHOOP membership, exclusively for our listeners! (we love you :)

Check out the WHOOP Podcast for more helpful information!

The Locker is WHOOP's informational center, including helpful blog-style posts about fitness data.

Check out Kristen's LinkedIn and Instagram!

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(Disclaimer: we will not answer specific medical questions or offer medical advice. Consult your healthcare professional with any and all personal health questions.)


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