We’ve talked about many wearables like Apple Watch and Fitbit in the past. And every time, we’ve recommended against using them because of the level of EMF these gadgets expose their users to. But undeniably, fitness trackers have a beneficial side too. So, while searching for a way to help you benefit from wearable technology without risking your health, we bumped into Oura Ring.
The Oura Ring is a tiny titanium device designed to track things like your sleep, heart rate, breathing rate, skin temperature, and more. But that’s not what makes this ring special. Oura Ring is the only wearable device on the market designed with your EMF safety in mind. How?
That’s what we’re going to discuss in this post. We’ll take an in-depth look at the Oura Ring, its functionality, and if it’s worth giving it a shot. So, let’s begin.
Note: This post is not sponsored by Oura Ring, and all opinions stated are our own.
How Do Fitness Trackers Work?
Before moving further and discussing the Oura Ring in-depth, let’s first take a moment to understand how fitness trackers work.
There are two aspects to making a working fitness tracker: sensors and algorithms.
To put it simply, fitness trackers measure motion. Today, most of these wearables come equipped with a 3-axis accelerometer that tracks your movement in every direction. Some fitness trackers also come with a gyroscope that measures rotation and orientation.
Once the device collects data from these sensors, it converts them into things like activity and steps. This data can then be used to calculate your calories burned and the amount of sleep you got.
Besides those, there’s also an altimeter, which monitors altitude to show how high you climbed, or the number of flights of stairs you climbed up and down.
Some sensors are much more complicated than that, like the ones that measure your heart rate, breathing activity, sleep quality, and blood oxygen level.
Do We Even Need Fitness Trackers?
Though what these trackers do is impressive, the question remains—do you actually need to see this data? For millennia, humans survived without knowing the number of steps they took, flights of stairs they climbed, or the number of calories they burned. So, why now?
This is the beauty of our ever-evolving technology. Even though humans may not have needed to see all these numbers before, it seems they can be useful. We’re finally at a point where we can get a small-enough device to take around everywhere so we can measure how we’re doing physically. And this gives us a chance to optimize our daily activities and be the best version of ourselves.
Here are some of the benefits that come along with your fitness tracker.
Let’s You Hit “The Number”
Health science has grown a lot in the last few decades and today, everything has a number attached to it. For example, you’ve been told that you need to take 10,000 steps every day for a healthier body, or get 7-9 hours of sleep every night for full recovery, and so on.
These numbers work because they give you a measurable goal. And fitness trackers can help you achieve them.
For example, let’s say your tracker logs that you’re consistently getting less than 8 hours sleep per night. You might dig into the data and find that it’s taking you longer than you realize to get to sleep. From there, you can start making positive changes to your environment and nighttime routine – like reducing blue light exposure before bed or adjusting the temperature of the room – and tracking the results until you meet your 8 hours a night.
Or, perhaps you want to hit a weight loss goal and are counting the number of calories you consume daily. Seeing how many calories you’re burning allows you to more accurately know if you’re staying within a deficit.
While data alone won’t magically make you fit and healthy, these types of metrics can make it far easier to understand how your actions are affecting your health – thus helping you make the right lifestyle changes.
Keeps You Motivated
Even though fitness trackers don’t directly provide health benefits, they certainly motivate you to get fit.
A 2019 study by the University of Florida revealed that fitness trackers boost your motivation to exercise and accelerate progress.
By simply wearing a fitness tracker while exercising, the subjects could significantly increase their workout and weight loss progress.
Research also says that when you wear a fitness tracker, you charge towards a specific goal rather than aiming to improve your overall health. And that’s much more effective, per experts.
These trackers let you compete with yourself. You don’t need anyone to tell you to run faster than the previous day, take more steps, or maintain your peak heart rate for a more extended period. Your fitness tracker will be the one motivating you to do these things. And this can intensify your training, allowing you to get more out of it.
Insights on Your Sleep Pattern
Until fairly recently, the only way of tracking your sleep was to manually keep a sleep diary.
Of course, you could spend a few nights in a sleep clinic, but this was undoubtedly an expensive option. On top of that, it wasn’t accessible to everyone.
Fitness trackers that have a sleep tracking function allow you to track your sleep more cost-effectively. But why would you want to track your sleep?
Studies say that getting 7-9 hours of sleep every night is crucial for your wellbeing. But, simply sleeping is not enough. You also need to ensure that the sleep you’re getting is high quality.
Here’s what a high-quality sleep looks like:
Sleep Latency: This measurement shows how long it takes you to fall asleep. If you drift off within 30 minutes of getting into bed, it’s one sign that the quality of sleep you’re getting is good.
Sleep Waking: This measurement indicates how much you wake up during your sleep. If you wake up frequently, it can disrupt your sleep cycle.
Sleep Efficiency: This measurement shows the amount of time you spend in your bed actually sleeping. Experts say that this number should ideally be 85% or more to receive the full benefits of a good night’s rest.
Benefits of Tracking Your Sleep
Here’s what researchers say happens when you get 7-9 hours of quality sleep every single night.
- Decreased risk of motor vehicle accidents
- Healthy appetite and lesser risk of obesity
- Reduced risk of heart problems and diabetes
- Improved reaction time, concentration, and memory
- Enhanced creativity and elevated mood
- Enhanced immune system that helps ward off infections and colds
- Increased appetite regulation, energy use, and weight control
If you’re falling behind on any of the sleep metrics mentioned in the above section, it may be time to make some changes in your life or see a professional. One benefit of fitness trackers is that they can help you realize that.
But Fitness Trackers Come with a Risk
Fitness trackers have incredible potential. But, almost all of them use Bluetooth to wirelessly connect with your phone. And that’s bad news because, as you may already know, Bluetooth uses radiofrequency EMF for that connection. And fitness tracking devices add a new EMF source to your already high levels of EMF exposure.
One might say that since fitness trackers are insignificant in size, they don’t emit much EMF compared to a cell phone or a laptop. But the fact is, the volume of EMF you receive is just one aspect of how EMF affects your physical and mental health. The second one is the amount of time you’re exposed to that EMF.
And the problem with fitness trackers is not the volume of EMF they emit but the prolonged usage and minimal distance you have with the device.
Apple Watch has the same problem. You can read all about it in my “Apple Watch: Side Effects and Health Concerns” post.
Fitness trackers are not something you can simply keep in your bag or take off and keep on the table as you can do with cell phones. You have to wear them all day, and in some cases, at night. This means the accumulated dose of EMF your body receives from your tracker becomes large enough to trigger biological effects.
So, is there a solution to this problem?
Yes, there is. And it’s called the Oura Ring.
What is an Oura Ring?
The Oura Ring is a state-of-the-art fitness tracker used by the NBA and celebrities like Prince Harry, Jennifer Aniston, and Kim Kardashian. There’s a lot of buzz worldwide for this gadget, and it has impressive features that leave some of the high-budget smartwatches behind. Here are some of the features of the Oura Ring.
Features And Benefits
The titanium-built Oura Ring is a wedding-ring-like health tracker that’s as good at collecting data about your body as any premium-grade fitness tracker on the market. It tracks your activity and sleep using optical heart-rate monitoring, a fairly common technology in modern-day fitness trackers.
Once this ring tracks your data, it converts that data into three different types of scores, which you can view using their mobile app. Here are those scores.
Besides that, you’ll also see metrics like sleep efficiency and latency.
Their Activity score is similar to what you might expect from any premium-grade fitness tracker. It’s simple—the more you move, the higher your score will go. But at the same time, Oura Ring factors in recovery time as well. So, it will tell you whether you’re putting in too much effort.
The Readiness score is probably the most important score this tracker can give you. It combines both your sleep and activity scores and calculates your readiness for the day.
The Best of All: HRV
Experts are more intrigued by the Oura Ring’s ability to detect heart rate variability (HRV).
Understanding HRV is simple. HRV measures the regularity or irregularity of your heart rate between pulses. If your heart rate is in sync with a metronome, then it’s close to zero. But if the time differs between pulses, your HRV is high.
Research suggests that low HRV could be an indication of physical or emotional stress. After using the Oura Ring for a while, you’ll have a reliable baseline for your HRV.
And the way it calculates your HRV is better than most premium fitness trackers.
The Oura Ring has incredible features. But those features are just a tiny part of why I’m writing this post. The main reason behind this is the low EMF emission of this product.
From The Lab
The Oura Ring is confirmed EMF-safe, as it emits minimal electric and magnetic fields (EMFs). Besides that, this device also allows you to enable Airplane Mode, without affecting its tracking ability, to reduce your EMF exposure even further.
Additionally, unlike other fitness trackers, the Bluetooth functionality on the Oura Ring is only active for short periods during the day when it syncs the data from the ring to your phone.
This means that even though your phone is connected to the Oura Ring, there won’t be many emissions going on. Although, I recommend keeping the device on airplane mode as much as possible.
Oura Ring: SAR
SAR or Specific Absorption Rate is a measurement of radiofrequency EMFs that your body absorbs from electronic gadgets. SAR limits are set by the FCC to ensure all electronic gadgets restrict their EMF emissions to a specific limit.
Although SAR isn’t the perfect metric to ensure EMF safety (here’s why), for now, that’s all we’ve got when it comes to EMF safety. And it gives us a rough idea of how safe an electronic device is.
The FCC-set SAR limit for devices like the Oura ring is 2.0 W/kg for the head and body. And upon testing, Oura Ring measured 0.0003 W/kg. You can read the full report here.
Fitness trackers can certainly help you a lot in your fitness and wellbeing journey. But there are risks. Low-EMF products like the Oura Ring are a big improvement, and a step in the right direction.
Still, with the amount of EMF we’re exposed to today, additional efforts are needed to really ensure you and your loved ones can enjoy technology in a safer, healthier way.
You can learn more about those efforts on our Healthy Living Tips Page. So, start reading them today, for free, on our website.