Prime Insight
Prime Insight

Could Digital Technology Exterminate Exercise Apathy?

Posting date: 12 August 2019
Sylvia McCoy our consultant managing the role

You'll Soon Be Telling Your Kids to Get back on Their Smartphones!

People are quick to jump on the bandwagon of blaming digital technology for causing exercise apathy. Instead of youngsters spending hours kicking a ball around in the local park, they sit at home thumbing away at a games console. It wasn’t like this when we were children. During school holidays, we used to get up at dawn, hop on our bikes, and whizz off with friends. We’d finally return home when dusk arrived.

It’s not only the physical well-being of kids that is suffering because of digital technology. The whole way that we live our lives has changed. We control the TV, heating, lighting and music in our home from our favourite chair. Our work lives are made easier by technology – increasingly, we have robots and machines do all the physical work for us.

Are we hurtling toward a lazier, obese future because of digital technology? Perhaps not. You see, it is possible that digital technology is ushering in not only a new way of working, but a new way of exercising. 

Here are five ways in which you could use digital technologies to increase your metabolism, decrease your waist size, and improve your heart health.

1. Web-Based Health Advice

Increasingly, the internet is becoming a more representative space. A place that is no longer restricted to work and education, but has widened and deepened to include the young and the old, men and women, and people from the gamut of social statuses. 

While it’s good to digital detox (7-Step Guide on How to Digital Detox), remaining connected can give you access to an increasing array of health and exercise sites and information when you need it most. Indeed, big data promises to be the new heartbeat in healthcare (“Big Data Is the New Heartbeat in Healthcare”).  However, users must know how to decipher the good from the bad:

  • You should look for evidence-based advice, backed by scientific research that is current
  • Consider the author and their credentials in health and exercise
  • Read reviews, and ensure they are from independent sources
  • Double-check for accuracy

Health authorities are likely to team up with apps like Alexa and Siri to ensure that the general public have access to the most current and reliable health and fitness advice possible, especially as health systems around the world are coming under increasing pressure for a growing and ageing population. One of the latest to do so is the NHS in the UK, which has started offering health advice through Alexa.

2. Social Media for Social Fitness

If you’re on social media, then you probably have a couple of friends who are into their fitness. If the updates they post aren’t enough to inspire you, then there are thousands of online groups to join. In these you’ll find advice, motivation, exercise regimes, collaboration, or a sense of competition. Share your exercise regimes and results. Get inspiration and be inspiring.

3. Wearables for Weight Loss and More

Wearable technologies are taking off, and, while their health accuracy is questionable, there is no doubt that they can motivate action. Whether monitoring heart rates or measuring paces walked, wearables are increasing in popularity. They give you an idea of your heart health and calories expended, and can motivate you to do more exercise to achieve a daily goal. They can also be used to measure athletic output and improve performance, monitor sleep patterns, mood, and energy levels.

 The word of caution, though, is about accuracy. A friend of mine travelled through France a couple of years ago, and his wife was wearing a well-known brand of fitness watch. On the second day of travel, they walked out of their hotel and straight into the car. They drove all day. Before getting out of the car at the next hotel, my friend asked his wife how many steps she had walked during their 500-mile drive. The answer was 2,667 and 18 flights of stairs!

Wearables can be great to motivate better health, more exercise and weight loss. As they become more accurate through development, I have a feeling their use may explode.

4. 'Active' Video and VR Games

'Active' Video and VR Games

As connectivity and VR are improving, active games are becoming more popular. The days of sitting and making Sonic run, bounce and trounce his enemies from a seated position may be drawing to a close. VR technology is ramping up the potential of video games to get people active.

What started with Wii and the like has progressed further. We’re moving from seated to standing to moving. We’re playing golf and table tennis, jumping ski slopes and into sandpits, and attempting martial arts against onscreen foes. Fast thumbs are being replaced by whole body movement, helping to increase mobility, improve aerobic capacity, and reduce weight.

5.  Train for the Tour de France

Immersive technology is also a great way to go outdoors while staying indoors. Spare rooms are being transformed into training rooms by keen cyclists for use when the weather inhibits getting into the wild. Screens and applications are linked to stationary cycles, a course is chosen, and away the cyclist goes. He or she can even ‘race’ against others online. As hills are encountered and bends are navigated, the cycle responds to require different seated positions and greater or lesser effort.

 This technology is not restricted to cyclists, either. Running, walking, dancing… you can compete against others from around the world without opening your front door.

There are also ‘interactive’ online gyms, in which classes are led by a personal trainer as they would be in a physical gym.

Digital Technology - The New 'Must-Have' Health and Exercise Kit?

Whether it is on mobile technology, on your laptop, or in a specially fitted-out digital exercise room at home, digital technology is proving to be effective in leading a healthier and more active life. Now I never thought I’d hear myself say that.

Will you soon be telling your kids to ‘get on that smartphone’ instead of ordering them to get outside and take some exercise?

As the world becomes increasingly digital, advances in technology should improve the ability of all digital devices to promote better health and well-being. However, for this to happen, companies need talented people with foresight, imagination, and technical skills.

To learn about the amazing opportunities available in new-age technologies, contact Prime Insight today. Your technological expertise could help the world become a fitter place to live.

Connect with Eunice Chung, Prime Insight Asia

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