Technology and Fitness - Friends or Enemies

We live in the Information Age. Everything we do involves some type of technology. Whether working or playing, our devices are never not within our reach. We have programmed our devices to wake us up in the mornings, tell us the weather, read the morning news, navigate traffic, schedule meetings, reserve a table at a restaurant, buy movie tickets, order dinner, and, when it’s time to go to bed, to turn off the lights.

And, now, we even have devices that monitor our fitness levels. In the 1980s, pedometers were all the craze when it was proven that 10,000 steps a day could improve heart health by balancing the amount of calories eaten per day with physical activity. Pedometers were later upgraded to electronic activity trackers, also known as fitness trackers. These devices have evolved from simple step counters to ones that can now monitor heart rate, calories burned, and even sleep cycles.

But do these fitness trackers really work?

According to current research, they do. One study showed that having a fitness tracker encouraged participants with chronic health conditions to be more physically active. Fitness trackers provided a visible reminder of the participants’ commitment to increase their activity and gave immediate feedback on step count and progress toward their goals.

Other studies have found that some fitness trackers can accurately monitor heart rate during walking and running activities.

Though the research, and even my sisters, have raved about having a fitness tracker, I’ve yet to bite the bullet and get one. There are so many out there, and they are not inexpensive. However, the future of this technology demands I will have to get one sooner or later. Soon, we’ll be able to upload the data from our devices straight to our physicians. One day our devices will be able to tell us if we’re not drinking enough water and even track our blood sugar.

And, who says we’ll be wearing these devices on our wrists. Experts speculate about sunglasses with the ability to log your miles and respond when you ask “how’s my pace.” Shirt sensors will read our heart rates and calories burned. Smart socks, shoes, shorts, and leggings will be able to track our pace, workload, heart rate, calories burned, and hydration.

With technology moving this fast, virtual reality workouts may soon be a reality. Oh wait, it looks like they already are.