Technology has become the darling of the fitness industry. There are trackers, tutorials, blogs, and analytical software and apps galore, all for the purpose of helping the fitness-seeker get to their goal quicker. However, in the case of those seeking progress in ameliorating the effects of a specific medical condition the stakes are higher and the technology may not yet be all that. Besides technology, medical alternatives are turning in the direction of the business and educational sector in trying to offer more stay-at-home options for patients. Some with more success than others. A new program combining a fitBit tracker and telephone coaching for the purpose of helping those with peripheral arterial disease to improve their symptoms achieved lackluster results. The gold standard before this attempted protocol was treadmill exercises, plus home exercises and three visits to an exercise center a week. Because not all patients can get to a center regularly, the alternate and fully home-based protocol was tried. Of the patients that were put on the protocol for home-care, the walking distance test, meant to show PAD symptom improvement, showed results that were essentially not different from that of the exercise center participants, although some reported less pain. One variable that may have skewed the results was that not all the participants were on point with getting their telephone coaching.

Key Takeaways:

  • Although wearables, like fitbits, have potential health benefits, a recent study found no difference in their use in treatment to improve peripheral arterial disease syndrome.
  • The idea of the study was to determine whether wearables could serve as a substitute for coached treadmill sessions.
  • Wearables and other health technology do still provide hope for a future of at-home healthcare.

“Therefore, the goal of this study was to assess the feasibility of a home-based exercise program to achieve fitness improvements, by supervising patients using wearable activity trackers, and coaching them through weekly or monthly telephone calls.”

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