High-Tech or High-Fit?
In the modern technological world of video game systems, iPods, smart phones and even smarter TV’s, the fitness world has certainly not been left untouched. There are now more applications, games, and gadgets than ever before to help you get fit and healthy. They range from being able to track your stress, heart rate, sleep, and steps taken to showing you how to workout. But, are these new tech tools really a step in the right direction?
Many of the fit and health applications and tools out there today are part of the new quantified-self movement. This means they allow you to track certain variables over a period of months, weeks, and days to discover trends and note information. For example, this allows you to see how many steps you walk a day and even track your morning waking heart rate so you can make changes accordingly.
But, are there any negatives to health and fitness technology? Say you are tracking your daily steps with an end goal of 10,000 a day. It’s now 8:00 pm and you are only at 7,500 steps for the day. You have a modern day “fitness-tool” dilemma. By 8:15 pm you decide to go for a quick run even though you noticed your ankle was sore and you still had work to finish before the night is over.
Here’s the problem: The new trend towards letting technology be the driver of your fitness decisions actually flatlines your intuitive sense of well being. It’s critical to have a very astute sense of yourself. The extra 2,500 steps can actually worsen your stress levels rather than benefit your health. You would have been much better off skipping the extra steps, resting your injury and completing your checklist. This also works in the inverse direction. If you are running and feeling great but have reached your 10,000-step goal, you may call it quits. But, if you were running without tracking your steps and feeling great, you may have kept going much longer. The ability to listen to your body and adjust accordingly is hugely important to good health. But, it quickly gets sacrificed when technology runs the show.
No doubt, technology does offer some benefits. For example, you can throw a DVD exercise video on and the camaraderie of the group and music may get you energized and motivated. But, are there any substantial downsides to electronic workout apps and videos? I can think of a few without even a stretch of the imagination. Consider that without an experienced exercise professional coordinating and supervising your workouts, you are at a much greater risk to suffer a physical injury. If your form is improper and you use large amounts of repetitions it will have a cumulatively damaging effect on your body. It is crucial to have someone work with you to make sure you have the correct posture and joint positions throughout all of your movements. Also, using applications or video games has the large downside of being non-specific to you. The workouts are not designed for you. They do not take into consideration critical personal data like your current health conditions or past injuries that need to be safeguarded to prevent future ones. This means that they can either be too easy and thus a waste of your time or too difficult and thus a high-risk activity that could cause you injury.
So should technology be used at all to enhance health and fitness? For most people and for the most part, health and fitness tools can bring users some awareness, like how many steps you take in a day and how many hours you sleep. But, never rely on technology at the expense of developing a strong self-awareness of your body’s personal needs. Don’t create stress on an injury or in your life just to meet the expectations of a fitness wristband.
As for tech-based workout tools, apply the same principles used when you learned how to drive a car. Someone most probably coached you how to adjust the driver’s seat, mirrors and steering wheel to your body so that you would be in the best possible position to drive safely and avoid risks. The same principles apply to your workouts. A knowledgeable fitness trainer will properly coach you to ensure you have correct form and are doing effective routines based on your body to be safe and avoid injuries. At the end of the day when it comes to health and fitness the “human touch” cannot be replaced by a touchpad.
Agree or disagree? Share your experiences with us! Have you used any of these new technologies? What have your experienced been like? Email us at: ftlakeforest@FitnessTogether.com
If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact us at Fitness Together Lake Forest. We can successfully individualize your training plan and nutrition for long-term successful results. Call or email us today for a free individual consultation and training session in the studio.
Written by Vlad Klipinitser
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