Thursday, August 30, 2012

High Tech Exercise

With today's technology, there are many ways to measure the physical work you do, whether it be sports, workouts or your daily footsteps.  Measuring your activity, regardless of what you're doing, delivers instant feedback that can keep you accountable to your fitness goals.  Don't be intimidated by some of the high-tech equipment that's available, even basic, easily collected data can be very effective to help you get the job done. 

Measuring your workouts can be motivating:
  • By monitoring the distance and intensity of your workout, you can determine if you need to push a little harder or give your body a break.
  • It can help track your long-term goals.  If you end up further along than you thought, it can give you the confidence boost you need to keep pushing forward.
  • Data doesn't lie.  Maybe you can't see the results of your work when you look in the mirror or step on the scale, but the information you gather can tell you that you are moving faster or longer than you did the month before.
  • Technology is fun!  With apps, pedometers and GPS units, monitoring your movements can keep your interest in your chosen activity.
Some fun gadgets to help you out:
  • If you have an iPhone or iTouch, the Pedometer Ultimate GPS+ app has a lot going for it.  It can record your time, location, distance, elevation, speed, pace and heart rate.  Multiple activities can be monitored, including walking, roller skating, skiing, ice skating and snowboarding.
  • Map My Run - is a fun, free website that tracks your distance, time, nutrition and calorie counts.  It also has a community set up and challenges that you can set for yourself.
  • For the casual and professional athletes, Garmin has an impressive selection of gadgets to choose from.
  • My Swimming Times - is a highly rated Android app to track swim times and swimming race standards.  You can share your race times with your family and friends by connecting it to Facebook, Twitter and email.
Keep in mind that you don't need to measure every workout.  There seem to be a lot of people who are hooked on their gadgets, who get obsessed with data and end up losing the pleasure they can get out of exercise.  It's good to have an idea of where you are in attaining your fitness goals as this information can go a long way, but sometimes it's good to lose the gadgets and just have fun.

References from the SIRC Collection: 

1. Crosby J. Measurement is Motivation. Rowing News. June 2012;19(5):24.
2. de Geus B, De Simet S, Nijs J, Meeusen R. Determining the intensity and energy expenditure during commuter cycling. British Journal Of Sports Medicine. January 2007;41(1):8-12.
3. Daffy M, Hoskins N. move a little, lose a lot. Health (Time Inc. Health). March 2004;18(2):82-85.
4. Karp J. Distance Running: How Much Mileage is Enough?. Modern Athlete & Coach. July 2010;48(3):20-23.
5. Pedometer Step Counts and Aerobic Fitness. Pediatric Exercise Science. November 2006;18(4):503-504.