Texercise – Is this the new way to get motivated?

The world is a forever changing place, whether it be technology, politics or consumer products, but exercise has and will always remain the same. We still need cardiovascular training to maintain a healthy heart, we still need strength to contribute to a healthy metabolism, we still need to eat fruit, veg and meat (or whichever substitute you please). Fact is, there is little that will change, and there is no miracle medicine that will ever replace long term fitness.

However, as a regular gym goer, you do see people struggle to get motivated. Everyone will be motivated by different things, some people want to lose fat, some people want to buff up, and some like to maintain what they have, but getting off your behind to do it is where people fall at the first hurdle. If you’re not motivated for it, then chances are you won’t do it.

I say this and you’re thinking ‘so, where does technology come into this?’

One word. Smartwatches.

I never ever thought I’d see myself wearing one, I always believed that a watch is a mechanical piece of craftsmanship, rather than something you have to charge up and update software on. I guess this is still the case, but the fact I do a lot of exercise means it benefits me to know how much I’ve done and have a tracker to let me know how many steps I’ve done, how many miles I’ve walked or even track my heartrate.

Over the last few years, the market for fitness gadgets has begun to skyrocket. The likes of Fitbit, Apple, Garmin, TomTom, Samsung and many more brands have all attempted to take a lion share of the new gadget market, but who is in the lead? And, why?

Fitbit “remains the clear leader of the overall wearables category,” the company said in a statement. “Fitbit was among the brands with the strongest (year-over-year) growth, up 11%, demonstrating positive reception for new devices introduced throughout 2016 and continued growth for the company.

Products such as the Fitbit Blaze, Alta and Charge range from around £85 – £150, in comparison to Apples basic £370 iWatch Series 2. So, first of all, the price point is key to appealing to the masses, and for the near future I see Fitbit being the leaders until Apple can seriously improve key features such as the 18-hour battery life, in comparison to Fitbit Blaze’s 5-day battery life. But the real question of this blog is, can these technologies motivate you to do more exercise? Can they get you into a frame of mind that supports a healthy lifestyle, and importantly give you awareness of how much you exert yourself each day?

In short, yes, if you purchase one of these gadgets and actually intend on using them, they will make a difference, but allow me to elaborate…

Like anything else in the world, the impact of these technologies is down to the individual, are you going to buy one and then not wear it a week later? Or will you wear it to work, gym, outdoors and everywhere you can think of? Providing that you use them each day, the track ability of your activity is pretty fascinating. Everything from floors you’ve climbed, steps you’ve taken, the rate of your heartrate can average calories burnt, setting targets each day and make you go the extra mile (no pun intended). It makes exercising almost a game, a target achievement where you will feel accomplishment against your goals.

For example, let’s say it’s late on in the day, you’ve had a long Friday at work and you’re catching up on exercise to counter your fatigue. Setting targets whilst cycling, running or whatever exercise takes your fancy, you’ll be notified on how close you are to reaching your target, not to mention the smartphone application that tracks real time with your watch. 

The reaped benefits of these products are a no-brainer. “Research has shown that if you want to stick to a new habit, monitoring is one of the best ways to make a change,” says Joshua Klapow, Ph.D., clinical psychologist at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Since these devices have eliminated the burden of having to physically keep track of everything yourself, monitoring is easier than ever, he says. And it works: A recent study showed that people who wore pedometers spent less time sitting, more time being active, and lost more weight than those who didn’t sport the device.

I think this is the first real step technology has taken for personal monitoring gadgets that also integrate with such a common device, and really, if you’re able to use them for what they’re built for, the benefits in the short and long term will be worth so much more than the watch itself.

Do you think you’d consider purchasing a fitness tracker?