Modern technology can get a pretty bad rap. Many people blame it for the sedentary lives modern people are leading, and the social isolation of a lot of kids. These days, however, your phone, tablet, and TV really don’t have to be used for sitting still for hours. In fact, they can be extremely effective auxiliary tools in working towards your fitness goals. People all over the world are starting to see more success by incorporating health and fitness tech in their lives, and more people are joining them all the time. If you’re curious about what tech can do for your fitness goals, here are a few tools you may want to consider using…
Heart Rate Monitors
A heart rate monitor can be a fantastic tool for monitoring your performance during workouts. A lot of modern cardio machines feature inbuilt heart rate monitors, which will tell you clearly how hard your whole body is working. There are also mobile heart rate monitors for both indoor workouts and outdoor running sessions. If you want to get the most out of your heart rate monitor, it’s important to know your maximum heart rate. This is the max number of times your heart can beat in the space of a minute, and represents an important factor in determining how intense your training regimen should be. After you’ve used the monitor to get more familiar with your body, you’ll be able to use it to come up with set interval training sessions, or steady-state workouts. This, in turn, will help to strengthen your heart muscles and improve your cardiovascular fitness.
Wearable Fitness Devices
One of the biggest trends in current health and fitness is wearable monitoring devices. Fitbit, Nike+, and Body Media are just a few of the big brand names you’ve probably come across. These devices are typically in the form of non-intrusive bracelets and clips and go far past the functions of your basic heart rate monitor. The idea is that you’ll wear the device at all times, allowing it to measure your movements, the calories you’re burning, your heart rate, sleep patterns, skin temperature, and in some cases, even your blood oxygen level. Most wearable fitness tech will automatically sync up with an app so you’ll be able to track how these stats have fluctuated over time. You can even get auxiliary devices, such as a smart water bottle that syncs with your Fitbit. If you only buy one piece of fitness tech this year, make it one of these convenient wearable devices.
As you may have discovered, it’s much easier to stick to your fitness goals when you let other people know about them, and know that you’ll be letting people down if you fail to meet any of those milestones. In a matter of seconds, you can join an online community like LF Connect or Sparkpeople, which will link you up with others who are looking to get into shape. There are even communities like Gym Pact, which will charge you whenever you miss a scheduled session and reward you with cash when you meet challenging fitness goals. If these specialized networks aren’t for you, there are probably many groups and subsections of the social networks you already use. Use these to link up with like-minded people, announce your goals publicly, and motivate others towards those big health milestones they’re trying to achieve.
Apps for Healthy Eating
As per usual, “there’s an app for that”. These days, there are countless apps you can use to support your meal planning, calorie counting, and general nutrition tracking. While some of these programs are obviously better than others, pin down a few that you find easy to use, and you’ll find it easier than ever to eat healthily and stay on track towards your overarching goals.
With every food brand in the world trying to come off as good for you, these kinds of apps can be extremely useful. If you’re not sure just how healthy that granola bar is, for example, you can use an app like Fooducate to analyze the nutritional content and assign it a grade based on how healthy it is. Meal tracking has been a big part of healthy living for some time, and apps such as Lose It make this a piece of cake by giving you access to a rich database of foods, which will make it easy for you to count your calories, and even sync your progress up with certain pieces of fitness equipment.
Ally Gonzales is the founder & editor-in-chief of RunningSoleGirl. Along with blogging she is also juggling attending college and majoring in Exercise and Sports Science with a Sports Management minor.