Technology’s Role in Your Fitness


photo by Zach Suggs via Flickr

Keeping track of your own fitness can be a challenge. Without the help of trainers and coaches, it is easy to fall into unhealthy patterns, skip out on gym sessions or rely on old workout routines that aren’t effective. Even worse, blogs, books and magazines filled with false fitness expertise is practically its own industry nowadays. It’s no wonder so many of us hold mistaken and contradictory beliefs about maintaining and improving our own bodies.

Innovators across the country are working to reverse these problems, and their fitness solutions are fascinating. Running, swimming, skiing, or weight training? There is an app for that. Companies have begun to release new technology, better programs and applications, enhanced equipment, and customized gear dedicated to keeping your workouts focused. Take advantage of these new products to better understand your own health while increasing your fitness level.

Smartphone Apps

Scan your favorite app store and you will find hundreds of fitness apps. These are not just “make a workout schedule” apps, either. Take a look at the latest phone/fitness integration news and see the ideas developers have been working on. Apps dig down to specifics and help you monitor your run times, plot out a bike route, or run a customized video-based workout session with clips from pro athletes. Because apps are easy to make and cheap to buy, developers have a lot of room for experimentation, which has led to promising results.

The integration goes far beyond time in the gym or on the move. With a little searching you can also find apps that create sleep schedules for a healthy routine. If running bores you, get ready for the app that combines role-playing a zombie apocalypse and speed or endurance training. Some of the latest apps even allow you to join a “betting pool” that tracks how well your group sticks to workout regimens.

Sensor Tech and Smart Equipment

If smartphone apps are not your style, do not worry about being left behind as fitness evolves. More traditional workout equipment, from treadmills to dumbbells, is getting a makeover of its own. The Bluetooth Group, for example, has released new certifications for running and cycling, ushering in an era of small, easily wearable sensors that judge distance, stride length, cadence, and more.

Not a runner? What about waterproof headphones, goggles that track your heart rate, or ski visors that include a full HUD with a miniscreen? Prices remain high for these products, but in the coming years more competition and market entrants will drive costs down to a reasonable level…and leave you with a lot of choices to make. Is that tracker with automatic computer integration worth buying? Or should you upgrade to a WiFi body scale with Internet access?

These inventions are only the beginning. Why use a scale, for instance, if your bed is equipped with sensors that daily measure your weight and fat percentage? If your refrigerator automatically orders food from a local store to match your diet, you no longer need an app for that. Advice is another plus: Expert computer systems equipped on treadmills and weight equipment will be able to give the same advice a pro trainer would, no matter where you workout.

Nike

Nike is worth a separate mention for all of its progress in the sport-tech industry, a key focus of many Nike products in the early 2010s. Not only does the company have its own running app and sports watch, but it also combines technology with its traditional shoe products, developing training and basketball shoes with sensors that can integrate with your music player.

One of the newest and most promising Nike innovations is the FuelBand, a separate wristband device that syncs with phones and computers to create a full fitness experience based around FuelPoints. The wristband measures your activity and then awards you points based on oxygen intake and preset goals. The more intense your workout, the more points you earn, and the more exciting LED lights glow on the band. The FuelBand and similar devices have the potential to be gamechangers, because they move from measuring a specific activity to measuring the benefits of any strenuous action, be it dancing, sparring, or landscaping.

The Future of Fitness

The future of fitness is destined to become even more integrated with lifestyle choices, creating a complete experience that encourages health in every way. Doctors, bosses, teachers, and coaches will join together to offer united services for those ready to accept the next leaps in innovation. So join the movement now and create better fitness for yourself using today’s tools – because tomorrow’s technology will be even more impressive.