Episode 47

Do Fitness Trackers Make Us Healthier? (with Kristen Holmes, VP of Performance Science at WHOOP)

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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Email: yourdoctorfriendspodcast@gmail.com 


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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.)


Connect with us:

@your_doctor_friends (IG)

@JeremyAllandMD (IG, FB, Twitter)

@JuliaBrueneMD (IG)

@HealthPodNet (IG)

About the Podcast

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Your Doctor Friends

About your hosts

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Jeremy Alland

Dr. Jeremy Alland is a sports medicine physician at Midwest Orthopaedics at RUSH, a renowned, consistently top-10 nationally-ranked orthopedic practice in Chicago, IL. In addition to a busy clinical practice, he serves as the head primary care team physician for the Chicago Bulls and Chicago Dogs, as well as a team physician for the Chicago White Sox and Chicago Fire Soccer Club. An avid athlete, Dr. Alland played collegiate baseball for DePauw University before pursuing medicine and enjoys golfing, basketball and stand-up paddleboarding. He lives in a suburb of Chicago with his wife, Katie, two children, Olive and Logan, and their goldendoodle, Archie. He never thought he would have a podcast, but has found it insanely fun and is excited to bring fun and approachability to the most common questions we hear as doctors.

"Work Hard + be kind" -The Alland Kitchen Wall
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Julie Bruene

Dr. Julie (Julia if we’re being formal, Julia Rose if she’s in trouble) Bruene is a sports medicine physician at Midwest Orthopaedics at RUSH, a renowned, nationally-ranked orthopedic practice in Chicago. She serves as a team physician for the Chicago White Sox, Chicago Bulls, and DePaul University. Aside from her obvious interests in sports and medicine, she is a true crime obsessive and is a total sucker for rescued cats. She lives in Chicago with her husband and partner-in-crime, Adam, and with several of the aforementioned rescued cats. We don’t need to get into specifics about the exact number here. She likes when people are kind to one another and when animals dress up like other animals. Rock over London, rock on Chicago.