I’ve never been the kind of person to have what I think of as “real” fitness goals, like running a marathon. For as long as I can remember, my only goal has been to get in four to five workouts a week when I’m not sick or traveling. I estimate hitting this goal 98 percent of the time. It’s good enough for me. So, I never jumped on board the fitness tracker trend, until now.
The other reason why I’ve never been into fitness trackers is that they just aren’t my style. I’m probably one of the last millennials to wear a regular analog timepiece every day (or to use the expression “analog timepiece”). And as much I love Apple products, those watches are just so expensive.
However, when I learned about the Oura Ring, I immediately wanted one. Oura doesn’t look like a fitness tracker— it looks like a real piece of jewelry. With a design that’s similar to a classic men’s wedding ring, it’s available in Gold, Black, and Silver. Chic and stylish, it looks good on the hand.
While I was drawn to the Oura for mostly aesthetic reasons, it also offers a lot of data, including sleep (and the stages of sleep), heart rate, body temperature. It can even predict your period. It’s also known to be one of the most accurate trackers on the market.
The Oura Ring challenge
This was probably the most interesting month for me to wear the Oura ring.
Due to a medical procedure, I was told by my doctor to take a few weeks off exercising. I was, however, allowed to take walks. Still, I squeezed in a few sessions of my regular workout, which is 30 minutes of HIIT on a Power Plate, for the first few days of wearing the ring.
My mind was blown
There were two big takeaways from wearing the Oura Ring. The first was (it kills me to write this) I don’t think I exercise as hard as I thought I did. As someone who isn’t into cardio, I was surprised at how few calories I burned during my regular workouts. While my studio doesn’t integrate a ton of cardio, I thought HIIT would raise my heart rate a little more. The data was equally disappointing for my walks, even the more intense ones.
There was another surprise. The Oura would ask me to confirm workout sessions for things like cleaning, tidying up, and getting ready. At first, I thought it was an error, but then I dug a bit deeper. I live a rushed, anxious life, but I didn’t think it was so bad that my heart rate literally increases from the stress of trying to get out of the door in a timely manner or vacuuming. None of these things are actual workouts.
Having access to this information made me think more about moving my body. The little things, whether it’s that extra walk with the dogs, a trip to Trader Joe’s, or cleaning a messy kitchen, count as movement. Something is always better than nothing, and it all adds up.
Furthermore, while I generally find push notifications to be disruptive or an annoyance, I loved Oura’s phone notifications. As someone who generally avoids accountability, being told I’m close to reaching my activity goal was the push I needed to get outside and take a walk, even in the rain. It made me feel less slothlike. I found this to be really encouraging and it might be my favorite thing about the Oura ring.
Another great feature of Oura is sleep tracking. It gives you a breakdown of each stage of sleep, including REM and deep sleep. As someone who doesn’t have a ton of issues with sleep, this wasn’t of interest to me. However, I can see how it would be helpful to other people.
That being said, I liked knowing how long I slept every night. If I was feeling a bit tired or out of sorts, I would check how much I slept last night. “Well, no wonder I wanted to cut off that person in traffic, I’m sleep-deprived!” Knowing this information also permitted me to give myself the grace to take naps (which Oura also tracks) or treat myself to an afternoon latte.
How I plan to use the Oura Ring in the future
Now that I’m able to start my regular workouts, I’m very excited to further integrate the Oura into my life. Because it adjusts your daily activity goals based on your “Readiness Score,” I know that it will help me get my body moving again. I also plan to turn on a reminder to move every hour (at least during the hours I’m sitting at a desk and working), so I’m getting additional exercise in.
My first month with Oura has been great and I’ve barely scratched the surface of all the incredible features it has to offer. I can’t wait to dive in and use it even more.