Wearables - which ones do you like and why?

Hello! I'm interested in tracking my symptoms better and would love to know which wearables people with ME/CFS/Fibro are using. I'm interested in tracking heart rate, sleep quality, and activity levels (steps, stairs, etc.). I know Stanford did a study a while back comparing different wearables, but the top one has been discontinued.

I'm sure there are other things I could track but have never used a wearable and don't even know what the possibilities are out there beside the usual brands that are being sold at places like Best Buy, Amazon, etc.

Any advice on which one to get? Thanks!
 

Remy

Administrator
Hello! I'm interested in tracking my symptoms better and would love to know which wearables people with ME/CFS/Fibro are using. I'm interested in tracking heart rate, sleep quality, and activity levels (steps, stairs, etc.). I know Stanford did a study a while back comparing different wearables, but the top one has been discontinued.

I'm sure there are other things I could track but have never used a wearable and don't even know what the possibilities are out there beside the usual brands that are being sold at places like Best Buy, Amazon, etc.

Any advice on which one to get? Thanks!
Hi @Carolineelizabeth! Welcome to the forums!

I don't have much experience with wearables but have been looking at the Oura ring lately. https://ouraring.com

Typically, I just use my Polar or Zephyr chest strap with an HRV app on my iPhone to take my HRV and pulse measurements throughout the day. I also use the Stepz app on my phone to keep track of steps.

Hopefully a few more people will chime in...did you do a site search for some of the common ones like Fitbit to see if any others had posted?

Here's a thread Cort started where some people talk about their experiences with Fitbit. http://www.healthrising.org/forums/threads/wearables-hope-for-chronic-fatigue-syndrome-and-fibromyalgia.5205/
 
Last edited:

Lissa

Well-Known Member
I've been using the Garmin Vivofit for the past two years. I use it to track daily steps and sleep - I feel like it helps show good days/bad days so I can look for patterns, especially over time. I would have guessed that my best months would be shoulder seasons, but my Vivofit actually shows July as my most active month. Go figure!

You can purchase one with a chest strap for heart rate, but I find I never feel like putting it on. When I do use that feature, it seems to track accurately enough -- it's great for showing POTS spikes, that's for sure.

Also if you wanted to get really detailed, it would be possible to download the raw data and make your own charts to hand off to your doctor. For your own everyday use, the Garmin Connect website is fairly easy to navigate. I sync about once a week and browse the stats quickly.

It's interesting to be able to see sleep patterns as well. It shows deep sleep vs light sleep, vs spikes for getting up in the night. If anything, it could serve as proof to doubting doctors that yes, you ARE getting a full 9 or 10 hours sleep, but you still feel crappy anyway.

Just my 2 cents.... hope that helps @Carolineelizabeth :)
 
Hi @Carolineelizabeth! Welcome to the forums!

I don't have much experience with wearables but have been looking at the Oura ring lately. https://ouraring.com

Typically, I just use my Polar or Zephyr chest strap with an HRV app on my iPhone to take my HRV and pulse measurements throughout the day. I also use the Stepz app on my phone to keep track of steps.

Hopefully a few more people will chime in...did you do a site search for some of the common ones like Fitbit to see if any others had posted?

Here's a thread Cort started where some people talk about their experiences with Fitbit. http://www.healthrising.org/forums/threads/wearables-hope-for-chronic-fatigue-syndrome-and-fibromyalgia.5205/
Thank you! I had seen Cort's excellent write-up of the Stanford study and the thread that followed, but did not come away with a clear idea about which wearables people on this forum are actually using. Sounds like the Fitbit products are not great for HR and HRV, so was curious to learn more about what patients were using. I will explore the chest straps you mention above - very helpful!

I think for many of us just getting started on symptom tracking that it would be really helpful to hear about how people are finding the Fitbits and Garmins and other affordable fitness trackers commonly available in this market.

OR if there is a medical-grade option that is affordable, that would be interesting to hear about as well. I was discouraged to hear that some start-ups in this area have folded.

OR perhaps it's a combo approach that is needed - Fitbit for some things, apps for others, and ??

I suppose the answer depends on what you are hoping to monitor. For me, it's basic measures of activity (steps, stories), sleep quality, and HR and HRV. I'm sure there is more that I could measure, but short of getting a medical grade device (for things like pH, perspiration, etc.) I'm a little fuzzy.

I will check out the Oura ring! THANK YOU!
 
Last edited:
I've been using the Garmin Vivofit for the past two years. I use it to track daily steps and sleep - I feel like it helps show good days/bad days so I can look for patterns, especially over time. I would have guessed that my best months would be shoulder seasons, but my Vivofit actually shows July as my most active month. Go figure!

You can purchase one with a chest strap for heart rate, but I find I never feel like putting it on. When I do use that feature, it seems to track accurately enough -- it's great for showing POTS spikes, that's for sure.

Also if you wanted to get really detailed, it would be possible to download the raw data and make your own charts to hand off to your doctor. For your own everyday use, the Garmin Connect website is fairly easy to navigate. I sync about once a week and browse the stats quickly.

It's interesting to be able to see sleep patterns as well. It shows deep sleep vs light sleep, vs spikes for getting up in the night. If anything, it could serve as proof to doubting doctors that yes, you ARE getting a full 9 or 10 hours sleep, but you still feel crappy anyway.

Just my 2 cents.... hope that helps @Carolineelizabeth :)
This is so helpful, thank you! I am less familiar with Garmin devices (more so with Fitbits) and am happy to hear there is an option for getting at reliable HR and presumably HRV measures. I agree, the chest strap would be cumbersome, but I could easily commit to wearing it for a while to collect data and to see if I can begin to detect any patterns. My POTS symptoms are not as clear - I seem to have more of a hypotension problem, but would like to see how HR is tracking with BP (which I need to do separately) and other measures.

I'm really excited about the sleep option. I have often wondered if my accounting of sleep is accurate. I suffer from insomnia, like most here I suspect. I might think I've had a bad night, when in fact I've had more sleep than I thought. Or, I may think I've had a decent night, only to find the data don't support it.

I'm like you - I need access to the raw data and love how Fitbit and Garmin seem to have a way to access it.

I'm developing a symptom tracker using Google Forms, which is linked to an Excel spreadsheet. It's an easier, lower-the-bar approach to sitting down each evening to record my treatment, symptoms, etc. My goal is to combine this with the data from a wearable. It's a start.

Thank you again! :)
 

Remy

Administrator
I put the chest strap on when i wake up and take it off in the evening. I never even notice it and then it's ready it i want to do a quick reading.
 

Forum Tips

Support Our Work

DO IT MONTHLY

HEALTH RISING IS NOT A 501 (c) 3 NON-PROFIT

Shopping on Amazon.com For HR

Latest Resources

Top