By Erica Moe | Get Fit
Many people know what they need to do to start or maintain a healthy lifestyle. The big question is HOW to make it happen.
One answer is technology. Technology can help you enjoy workouts more, track new healthy behaviors and improve consistency and adherence. Technology helps us parallel park and sends vehicles into outer space. Your health can benefit from it, too!
Music and motivation
Music is the most important factor in exercise enjoyment. Research shows that music can reduce the perception of effort and increase endurance up to 15 percent. Scientists report that synching your movements to the beat helps exercise seem easier.
Download an app that has remixed music playlists like RockMyRun or FIT Radio. RockMyRun was scientifically proven to increase motivation and enjoyment during running by up to 35 percent, when compared to no music or a traditional playlist. And, it’s free.
There’s an app for that
Use several different apps or keep all your data in one. Track calories, activity, water consumption and weight in an app like MyFitnessPal. Measure distance, trace your steps, find a local route and get coaching to maintain your pace with MapMyRun.
Take A Break! is an app that offers guided meditation for stress relief. BellyBio is an interactive breathing tool to reduce stress and anxiety. All are free.
Wearable devices increase adherence
Even a pedometer, which just counts steps, is proven to increase physical activity. Set your goal, realizing that 10,000 steps per day is recommended.
A heart-rate monitor tracks your exercise intensity. As you work harder, your heart rate increases. Accelerometers track how much and how fast you move. The Dash headphones play music, track activity, heart rate, oxygen saturation and energy spent.
Keep it simple or analyze all the data. Find what fits your lifestyle.
What do you want to track? Measure intensity by heart rate or estimate calories burned with your distance. Select a gadget that can differentiate between different types of activity or choose a sport-specific option. Sleep tracking is an added benefit, as well.
Other items to consider are: alarms, waterproof, smartphone compatibility, social interaction and battery life. Lastly, is it free or is there a fee? If you have to pay, is it one time or monthly? Decide what will work best for you.
What else is there?
Your gym may offer a workout-tracking program to provide feedback, motivation and guidance.
Mission Valley Y’s Precor cardio machines have Preva Networked Fitness consoles that provide entertainment, tracking and goal setting. SmartMat, a smart yoga mat, can help analyze and improve your technique and links to an app to log and track your workouts. FITGuard, a mouth guard that measures impact, aims to reduce concussions and syncs to a smart device. FitlLinxx AmpStrip, similar to a water-proof band aid, is worn 24/7 to gather data like temperature, heart rate and movement.
No matter what your goals are, there is something for you. Set your goals and use technology to help you meet them.
—Erica Moe is an ACSM certified exercise physiologist who writes on behalf of the Mission Valley YMCA, where she is a fitness director.