When COVID-19 took over in March of 2020 and forced millions of Americans into their homes, many took the extra time in their abodes to look at ways to improve themselves. Some read books or listened to podcasts. Others spend extra time on Zoom or Google Meet with their families. Many more just tried to adjust to the new normal of working from home while millions of students joined them under the same roof.
Another way that people have improved their lives in the last seven months is further exploration of their health, including the use of new wearable technology to break down performance on a variety of levels.
Enter WHOOP and Oura Ring, two companies who have taken over wearable technology with personalized performance insights on the human body.
Below, we looked over both products in order for you to decide which one would work best for you.
Directly from their website, WHOOP is a wrist-worn heart rate monitor that tracks health data, including your body’s recovery, respiratory rate, and activities 24/7 to help you optimize your well-being. WHOOP is membership based, advertising for as low as $30. The membership currently comes with the WHOOP Strap 3.0, the newest band that is engineered for a high-performance lifestyle. The strap’s 5-day battery life allows users to wear the band 24 hours a day, diving into the consumer’s body recovery, strain and sleep patterns.
The biggest draw at first glance is the WHOOP app on your mobile device which acts as a sleep coach, a strain coach, and allows you to journal so that the app can help set new goals for you the following day, week or month. The app is set to show you ways to recover faster, train smarter, sleep better and monitor your trends.
Another huge benefit of the being a member of the WHOOP family is the sense of community that has grown among the members. Those with an active membership can join and create teams with friends and family while also friending like-minded fitness enthusiasts. You may also create custom teams based on your activities, interests and training groups, among other factors. For the competitive users, there is a leaderboard to see how you compare to other WHOOP members and to help you stay motivated.
Founder & CEO Will Ahmed is a former D1 athlete at Harvard, playing on the Varsity Squash Team as a captain. What he realized is how hard he would train and work but never knew what kind of gains he was making besides getting on a scale. He figured that athletes can—and should—be able to track their improvements and that success shouldn’t be random as he felt many times it was when he was at Harvard.
Whoops seems like a great product for many, especially for those who don’t want to break the bank. The community aspect will appeal to many customers as well and the design of the band looks comfy without drawing too many eyes to it. It can be worn during any occasion and gives the in-depth analysis that many are looking for in a wearable band.
High School Use: While budgets might look a little different in 2020 than they did in 2019, WHOOP is a cheap enough option that high school teams or athletic departments as a whole could experiment with them without breaking the bank. Coaches could use these devices as a way to keep student-athletes more accountable with their sleep, and their resting patterns. The team could set goals as individuals as well as team goals each week and coaches could examine these results from their student-athletes to gauge if they are pushing their athletes too much, not enough, or just right. While practices and games in the fall won’t look the same from coast-to-coast, this potential extra time gives teams around the nation a chance to really dive into something new like WHOOP.
It’s hard not to notice the National Basketball Association (NBA) logo on the top of the Oura Ring website when you click into it. Right there in the top left corner sits the famous blue and red logo, along with a statement about how Oura Ring is helping the NBA players, coaches and other staff members get back to playing basketball.
Oura Ring’s big push besides a huge sponsor like the NBA is their drive to help their customers get better sleep. The company pushes back on the “you can sleep when you’re dead” statement that many of us have been known to say and have paragraphs upon paragraphs on their website dedicated to the importance of sleep. They breakdown how many people can actually function on six hours, and what’s the importance of sleep not only on the body but on the brain. The company also does a fantastic job at breaking down specific things you miss out on if you don’t get enough sleep each night. The Oura Ring breaks down your bedtime, deep sleep, latency, REM sleep, sleep efficiency, sleep score, sleep stages, time in bed, total sleep time and total wake-up time. While it feels like a lot, it’s broken down nicely for you and allows you to react quickly to any potential changes you might want to make (less caffeine at night, etc.).
A couple other things an Oura Ring will track for you when you aren’t asleep is your body temperature, heart rate variability and resting heart rate. The temperature monitor—especially during the COVID-19 Pandemic—is what drew the NBA to select and work with Oura Ring. Players, coaches, and anyone inside “the bubble” in Florida can have their temperature monitored at all times, allowing them to have further knowledge on if they have come in contact with the virus. Oura Ring also tracks many everyday functions like activity score, inactive time, steps, calories burned and activity goal completion.
With an app for the Apple App Store and Google Play, anyone with a smartphone can utilize the technology the Oura Band has to offer. For iPhone users, Oura Band also works seamlessly with Apple Health to further connect you with your mobile device in all aspects of health.
Oura Rings are available in three colors and two different styles with every color and style priced out at $299 USD. There is an opportunity to get fitted for your Oura Ring on the website with tips on what finger you should wear it on and what size you should purchase. The rings look very similar to a traditional ring and many would never know that you even have it on. With that style and discreet look, you can wear Oura Ring anywhere and everywhere to get the best tricks and tips for your health in 2020 and beyond.
High School Use: Like WHOOP—and beyond in some senses—Oura Rings are really focused on the importance of sleep. While sleep is important for any high school student, the Oura Rings could really bring light to how much our 14-18 year old population is lacking sleep and furthermore how it is affecting their lives in school and on the field, court, ice or any other playing surface. The team that would purchase the Oura Rings would have to get used to wearing rings as opposed to a potential band but Oura Ring has made them feel so discreet, it hardly feels like it’s there at all.
“The Pick:” While both products seem to have a lot to offer WHOOP makes the most sense for the high school demographic. Besides the lower starting price, WHOOP bands are easy to wear, has a long battery life, and just fits more overall to a high school student-athlete of any kind. The journal feature could be great for coaches and teams as a topic of discussion daily, weekly or bi-weekly and the sleek design is just an added bonus. With many student-athletes having that competitive drive, the WHOOP community features would allow for teams to set up challenges and face off against each other. Coaches, student managers, and others involved with the team could join the challenges as well, building a culture unlike any other. When it comes to where you should go for your team’s next wearable technology….WHOOP (there) it is!