Tech In Fitness
Technology has changed every aspect of human life. While there’s certainly been a great deal in the news about how technology has changed business and social interactions, there’s another field that has been quietly evolving due to the presence of new technology – fitness. This change has to do with far more than the inclusion of more advanced machines in local gyms. Below are just a handful of the ways that technology has begun to change the way consumers look at and interact with fitness in their daily lives.
One of the easiest ways to see how technology is changing fitness is through the use of fitness gadgets. These gadgets aren’t just recording data – they’re making fitness smarter. It’s now easier than ever before to strap on a device and start learning how one’s body is reacting to a workout. There are devices that monitor blood pressure, heart rate, oxygen intake – there are even devices that provide negative reinforcement when individuals aren’t exercising enough. Smart devices are quickly changing the way people interact with their own fitness programs.
Indeed, some of these items don’t even need to be worn to have a huge impact. Look at smart scales, for example – these devices can become a one-stop data transmission stop in a home, allowing individuals a better look at their overall fitness than a classic scale could ever have hoped to provide. Smart treadmills are another example of the change, now able to work directly with the user to provide workouts that better meet their fitness goals. These tools are changing the relationship individuals have with their workouts every time they are used.
One of the major problems with typical fitness programs is that they only catered to a very specific set of people. Thanks to modern technology, though, fitness has become far more accessible. It hasn’t even taken huge leaps forward to change the way people interact with their fitness plans – just a few smartphone apps. Now, it’s possible to eschew typical gym contracts by using apps that allow users to pay a fee and work out in multiple locations. Some gyms are even able to stay open longer thanks to apps that give users access codes during the night. No longer do individuals have to work on a gym’s schedule – they can now find ways to work out that don’t require making other sacrifices.
Technology has also helped to make the gym obsolete for some. A few quick taps on a phone screen can give would-be fitness devotees access to personal trainers and personalized training programs. All of the tools that used to be confined to the gym can now be easily located in the home – and some can even fit in the pockets of their users. These programs have moved fitness from being something that has to be done in a specialized location to something that can be done anywhere.
Technology has begun capturing user data and feeding it back in a manner that makes sense. Technology has now reached the point at which readouts are more than raw numbers – they’re now presenting data in a way that can both inform and motivate users. Something as simple as a pedometer can make a huge difference in the life of an individual, but it can be even more important when the user has an automatic frame of reference as to how his or her steps compare to what he or she needs to do to stay in shape.
Data is also being used to motivate users. Now that devices can report how they’re used, many have begun to use this data in a competitive manner. There are dozens of websites that allow users to compete with others for longest runs, most steps taken, or even pounds lost over the course of years. Workplaces are even getting in on the trend by holding voluntary contests that rely on user-submitted data to work. New competitions are helping users to become more serious about their fitness goals and providing new, more advanced methods of motivation to get them where they want to be.
Technology has helped to remove the stigma of fitness being a one-size-fits-all solution. While it is still possible to engage in programs that are meant for groups, technology has made it far easier to undertake programs that fit an individual’s needs. From timing to personalized data, it’s now more possible than ever for a person to find a perfect plan on his or her own.
Some of this is certainly due to the prevalence of data gathering devices. It’s simple for anyone to input his or her data into a program and to quickly observe his or her overall level of health. From there, it’s relatively simple for the same program to devise a workout program that will help a person to reach his or her goals in a timely manner.
Even using a program in this manner is becoming outdated. Now, one can use a wearable device that keeps track of up-to-the-minute changes in the body. This allows for personalization of a workout plan on the fly, reducing the amount of time one spends doing unnecessary workouts and making sure that every step counts.
Finally, technology is starting to reduce the separation of diet and exercise. While it was common for many to excel at one while failing at the other, new devices are starting to blend together the two sides into a single state of fitness. Devices can now help dieters reach target calorie counts even as they work out, while at the same time providing meal information for weightlifters who are attempting to bulk up. It’s easier to keep track of all the data in one place and see how doing one thing helps to contribute to the success of doing the other.
Technology is even helping to bring mental wellness in to the equation. There are many mindfulness and meditation programs that sit side by side with workout programs on the app store. In fact, some of these programs are even made by the same companies. Taking a more rounded view of what it means to be in good shape is starting to change the way the fitness industry looks and operates. In time, the industry as it exists today may end up being something wildly different.
Technology is absolutely changing fitness. From data collection to competition, from new approaches to personalized workouts, these changes in the industry are trickling down to individuals. The way one looks at one’s health is becoming more accurate and, for some, much more a part of every day life. As technology improves, it seems very likely that the end results will be the improvement of fitness programs across the world. As these programs evolve, so too with the health of those who take advantage of new technology.