A recent study found that “exercisers who use tech to support workouts consider themselves to be more successful at achieving their weight and fitness goals.” This should not come as a surprise given the advent of numerous productivity apps for business, organizing and other tasks. Personally, I have transformed my physical fitness and bodily health with help from my Nike heart rate monitor and additional apps on my iPhone. It is only a matter of time before fitness apps and health technology become as commonplace as checking email and social media updates for staying connected.
Technology as a Personal Trainer
One of the key values of fitness technology is the ability to quantify and monitor your efforts. Similar to the way online banking and self-management of personal bank accounts can add to successful financial planning and saving. Prior to such access to data, people kept track of their finances as best as possible, but there was significant room for making mistakes. Technology attempts to eliminate the chance of mistakes in monitoring.
For fitness, such tech is perfect for empowering individuals to proactively track their health and fitness habits. The visual element of being able to view one’s own accomplishments in say a dashboard or interactive chart has a direct impact on the way people stick to a routine. As technology and everyday items become interconnected, it is likely that fitness and health technology will undergo innovative transformations and progress.
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Exercise with Your Mobile Apps
As items such as heart rate monitors, weight scales, treadmills and even your sneakers, become increasingly connected, your mobile phone will be the central hub for a majority of the resulting data. Wearable technology for instance, can count your daily steps with a pedometer, monitor sleep patterns, record calorie intake and even sense body temperature and other vital stats. All of that data needs a central repository, and the smartphone is a perfect solution.
In addition to aggregating all of the data from your wearable fitness technology, mobile apps will represent such data via useful visualizations and dashboards for optimizing your health and fitness routine. The Nike+ FuelBand for instance, is connected to a web portal where users can monitor their exercise habits and even share with like-minded friends.
Highly Connected Gym Experience
Now that your scale is connected to Wi-Fi, gyms and fitness equipment manufacturers are beginning to integrate computers into workout machines. These smart workout machines can connect to a mobile app whenever a user exercises. Seamless integration between the app and the machine allows for a user to simply workout and their phone automatically records data by communicating with the treadmill or stair climber.
Throughout the entirety of a workout, the app can connect with the machine and track vital stats and other pertinent metrics to provide a holistic view of a user’s daily workout and fitness output. Similar to the business saying, what is measured gets managed, tracking and measuring exercise and diet with technology, can lead to a healthier life.
The Quantifiable Human Body
Now that data regarding our physical lives is accessible and easy to view, there is a growing trend of fitness minded individuals interested in quantifying their day to day physical activities. Metrics regarding calorie intake, daily time spent exercising, average time spent sedentary and more can help people gain control of their exercise routines and improve their health.
At my company, we developed an application for doctors to suggest, monitor and assess prescribed workout regiments to supplement traditional treatment for specific diseases, conditions and rehabilitation needs. Direct connection with health professionals is also possible through the app and the PC’s webcam or video camera on a tablet. To ensure that exercises are performed correctly, the application comes with webcam functionality to help assess in real-time a patient’s ergonomics when performing a prescribed workout routine.
Visualizing Your Goals
In general, fitness and health technology help to provide clearer pictures of the activities and habits which attribute to our health or sickness. The ability to visually assess your workouts or exercise habits can result in a shift in how individuals approach exercising. If you are able to view your milestones and progress in real-time with a few touch gestures, the motivation to continue is increased. As computing becomes even cheaper to integrate with everyday items such as scales and even your fridge, the proliferation of hi-tech fitness and health software and pro-active health and fitness equipment will be a standard occurrence.