We live in the age of cool gadgets and convenient data. As human kind focuses on more efficient circuitry and perfecting information delivery, more elaborate pieces of tech become available. A trend that has swept across many manufacturers is that of making fitness technology available for everyone. Although these gadgets may seem pretty awesome, are they really benefiting the masses who use them?
How to Properly Use Fitness Technology
Fitness technology can be quite fun to use. Well, for me it is. I find it to be kind of like a game when I read how many calories I’ve burned or how many steps I’ve taken. And in some applications, there is that competitive undertone. For instance, Exercise.com records points and pits your fitness prowess against others on the site.
However, not everyone uses the tech correctly. I know, it sounds a bit odd considering that many of these manufacturers have gone out of their way to make these devices ultra-easy to use. Unfortunately, there is a lot of misconceptions about how to properly take advantage of the many things that are currently on the market.
Even the easiest of units can be mishandled when it comes to monitoring health and fitness. In many instances, these problems are often caused by the user and not the tech. Here are a few things everyone should understand about fitness technology.
Understanding Your Personal Physique
While those who design the finest fitness technology try to get the most accurate devices on the market, you also need to keep in mind that your physiology is different. It’s not just height and weight that make a difference, either. There are many facets to your body that can skew results.
For example, the length of your gait when you walk can change the number of a step counter in terms of distance traveled. In reality, it would take some who is five-foot-two more effort to walk five miles than someone who is over six feet tall.
Even diet tracking apps can have an alternate view of your health. For instance, someone who is hypoglycemic needs a far different diet than someone who isn’t. Some people can handle sodium like it was nothing while others have to stay away because of personal conditions.
What it boils down to is that the only way you’ll ever find the perfect piece of fitness technology is if it’s tailored to your specific physiology. People are just too different when it comes to gauging bodily functions and limits.
Actually Using Devices and Apps
One of my favorite things to pick at is those who say how a device isn’t working for them when they are clearly not using it to its full potential. This happens whether it’s fitness related or not, though. If you want something to work, you have to actually use it.
I’m not saying that all failures in tech are the result of the user. But I’ve actually witnessed a lot of people try something and fail because they really didn’t know how to use it. And even then, some things have to be used a different way to fit your lifestyle.
Let’s take myself, for example. Most people relish in their Fitbits to track steps. Everyone wants that goal of 10,000 in a day. Since my work and play center around computer use all day, I’ve changed my goal to calorie burn. I use my Fitbit Charge HR to make sure I hit a specific goal for burning calories, not steps.
Why do I do this? Because it’s easier for me to burn calories with short workouts through the day instead of trying to meet 10k steps. That, and I rather enjoy other activities more such as playing the Xbox Kinect or doing some core work.
The point is, you need to actually use a device or an app if you want to be successful at it.
Fully Understanding the Tech
Another failing that a lot of people have is not understanding the tech in the first place. With all the devices and apps to choose from, it can get confusing at times. This shouldn’t frustrate you to the point of giving up, though.
A lot of fitness technology today will allow you to modify your settings as precise as possible in order to give you the best results. For instance, you can set your gait in many step-counter apps and wearable tech. This gives you a more accurate reading of your progress when walking or running.
Entering your correct physical measurements is also beneficial if you want an accurate reading of fitness. For example, those who are obese will burn calories faster than those who are skinny. But if the technology doesn’t know how big you are, it won’t be able to correctly track your fitness.
Take the time to understand exactly what it is you’re using. You may find many more uses that can inspire you to be healthy. For instance, I love seeing my heart rate during love-making. It doesn’t get as elevated as I thought it would, though.
Maybe I’m doing it wrong.
Keeping Data Accurate
No app or piece of fitness technology will be useful if you don’t keep the data accurate. For instance, tracking food in MyFitnessPal can easily help you curb your diet and lose weight. But it means nothing if you don’t record every piece of food you eat.
Tying your Fitbit on the leg of your dog and having him chase the neighbors cat can rack up the steps, but it does nothing for you. It’s all about doing your part to help the technology work. Accurate data leads to accurate results. This means you need to record everything even if you don’t like what you see.
Don’t Fall for Instant Gratification
One of the biggest issues many people have is that of instant gratification. People often relish in quick results instead of actually working for a goal. Getting a Fitbit doesn’t mean you’ll instantly begin to shrink in body mass. It’s going to take work from yourself to actually reach your personal objectives.
Don’t rely too much in tracking your daily weight, either. Your physique can change easily from one day to the next. You can add weight from nothing more than water and not visiting the bathroom regularly. One of the best ways to measure fitness progress is by taking weekly measurements. Watch your weight and inches in various parts of the body.
I try to keep an eye on the dimensions of my waist, legs, chest and arms to see if I am losing mass as well as the smartscale.
Fitness Technology Can Be Beneficial
Fitness technology can be quite useful if used correctly. Just bare in mind that there is no such thing as the perfect device or app unless it was specifically created for your exact physique. While manufacturers often try to make wearable devices and apps as accurate as they can, everyone is still completely different from one another.
Our culture is one of technology and convenience. While some of these things can be beneficial, others can be a drawback to fitness. Take advantage of what becomes available. But do it responsibly for your own health.