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The effectiveness of physical exercises supported by new technologies

October 27, 2019

The effectiveness of physical exercises supported by new technologies

Technology is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it contributed to the increase in sedentary lifestyles across different age groups and socioeconomic levels. On the other hand, the widespread of fitness technology such as smartphone applications and wearable technologies offers innovative solutions to increase and promote physical activity.
Currently, more than 6.8 billion people worldwide use mobile phones. A 2013 analysis revealed that there are over 40,000 health and fitness apps currently available to the public via iTunes (e.g., Map My Walk, Runkeeper, My Fitness Pal), and over half of smartphone users report having downloaded such applications.

Examples of devices that measure and track PA

  • Pedometers, count and monitor the number of steps taken during ambulatory activities such as walking, jogging, and running. They can also estimate distance and caloric expenditure but these measures are often less accurate. Pedometers can be carried in a pocket or a bag held close to the body but for more accurate counting they need to be attached to a waistband, around the ankle or in a shoe.
  • Accelerometers: record body acceleration minute to minute, providing detailed information about the frequency, duration, intensity, and patterns of movement.  They are relatively more expensive than pedometers and used more widely in research.
  • Heart rate monitors: are used primarily to assess exercise intensity for individuals with cardiac conditions and highly trained competitive athletes. These devices can also estimate exercise energy expenditure.
  • Smart Fabric and Sensor Technology provide monitoring systems that can remotely record/monitor physiological responses; these systems are fully integrated within clothing.
  • Interactive video games such as Dance Dance Revolution (DDR), Wii Sports, Wii Fit, Sony Play Station, Xavix, and EyeToy games.
  • Fitness trackers such as Fitbit, Garmin, Xiaomi and Misfit. Similar devices come in different prices and functions. They can monitor daily steps, heart rate, sports activities and sleep statistics. The data from these trackers can be packed up on the user’s online account so that they can monitor their personal goals and share them with their health care provider.
  • Smartphone Applications, allow users to track jogging/-biking routes, workout data and comprehensive workout history, distance and time, control music, and share performance levels through social media applications

How Technology is Promoting Physical Activity

Many studies provided evidence on the efficacy of Fitness technology in engaging inactive population in exercise programs. A systematic review reported positive results such as weight loss and changes in health risk behavior in inactive individuals in several studies that used mixed technology-based physical activity interventions (web-based technology, mobile phones, and accelerometers)
Many fitness centers and schools are now offering interactive games to promote physical activity of children, adolescents, and older adults by utilizing interactive games. Warburton and colleagues reported that interactive video game cycling significantly increased steady-state HR and energy expenditure compared to traditional cycling at constant, sub-maximal workloads.
While lots of fitness aids come in the form of apps there is also a lot of hardware that can help get you off the couch or making healthier choices.
Here is a list of some of the best technology to help you get fit and healthy. Try each one separately or use a combination of a couple.

1. Calorie Counter Apps

A calorie is a unit of energy. Historically, scientists have defined "calorie" to mean a unit of energy or heat that could come from a variety of sources, such as coal or gas.
When thinking about nutrition, all food, no matter whether its fats, proteins or carbohydrates contains calories. We need a certain number and combination of these calories to live and function.

2. Heart Rate Monitors

Whether you want to train for a marathon or just get active to lose weight or get more energy, it's important to understand how your body responds to physical activity. The best way to gauge the effectiveness of your workout is to monitor your heart rate.
Your heart rate is the number of times your heart beats per minute. Having a low resting heart rate generally means you have a strong heart that can pump the adequate amount of blood through your body with minimal effort.

3. Sleep Monitors

While it might sound silly, getting a good night's sleep is the foundation for a healthy and happy life. For many of us watching just one more episode of our favorite tv show, or scrolling through Instagram before bed means we aren’t getting enough hours with our eyes closed.
On top of that, we may have disrupted sleep due to poor sleep posture, snoring or other issues. Using a sleep app like in combination with a fitness tracker will help you realize what is going on when you decide to go to bed.

4. Smart Ropes

Jump ropes have been around for years, but this simple toy isn’t just for kids. Jumping rope or skipping has been proven to be a great way to get aerobically fit while staying pretty much in the same spot.
The humble jump rope has been redesigned for the 21st century thanks to Smart Rope. This high tech piece of sports equipment not only counts your workout it provides with up to date calorie information.
Simply download the app, connect your rope to your phone and start your workout. The LED-embedded jump rope displays your fitness data in mid-air, as you work out.

5. Body Mass Index Measurers

etting fit and healthy is a priority for almost everyone. But understanding your own body is surprisingly complex with much more to know than just overall body weight.
Your Body Mass Index (BMI) is a measure of body fat based on your weight in relation to your height and applies to most adult men and women aged 20 and over. Your BMI is a much better indicator of your health-related to your weight than just your total weight.

6. FireFly

Getting started on a fitness regime will probably result in some aches and pains.  Make sure you get back to the gym quickly by aiding your recovery with the FireFly pain relief gadget. 
The small band is worn behind the knee where it delivers electrical impulses that aid in circulation and reduce swelling.  The device is used by amateur to professional athletes to help them recover and optimize performance. 

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