Keeping track of fitness
Deccan Chronicle.| Swati Sharma
Gadgets are facilitating a behavioural change, both physically and mentally
Fitness coach Shilpa Reddy.
Performance often gets better when monitored, and the same applies to physical activity. Post pandemic, the urgency to remain fit and go that extra mile when it comes to physical activity has gone up considerably. As the world is trying to get as fit as possible and makes more effort to achieve this, fitness apps seem to be the new ‘boosters’, pushing one towards being more active.
Christy Turlington, model and mother of two, recorded her experience first-hand of Apple’s fitness wearable, by using it while training for a half-marathon in Africa.
A new study suggests that using these apps increases physical activity, pushing people into being more active. The study found that physical activity increased every day by an equivalent of 1,235 steps while moderate and vigorous activity went up by 48.5 minutes a week.
Flexibility to walk anytime, anywhere
"The Trailwalker Virtual Challenge gives walkers/participants a chance to independently choose their time, pace, and surface, and fitness gadgets are good companions in this. Not only do they help in keeping a check on the everyday target during the challenge but also provides users with the flexibility to walk anytime and anywhere! Be it a walk in your room or the park, running errands, or simply taking a quick trip to the bathroom — everything counts! At the end of the day, the total accumulated distance is what matters,A fitness gadget is all you need because it easily monitors your progress while you walk!"
-Leena Goel, Head Oxfam Trailwalker.
Monitoring apps are a rage
Shilpa notes that with a given deadline or benchmark people tend to improve their performance considerably. "It is great for those with sedentary lifestyles. Due to our hectic schedules and lifestyles, we tend to skip physical activity for a day or days but the fitness trackers are great in pushing you into being active," she says.
Shalini Passi, fitness enthusiast and founder, SPAF & MASH, online platform promoting architecture, art, design, craft, and fashion, says, "I think the fitness gadgets have really helped a lot of people to monitor their heart rate and steps and how many calories they have been able to burn. Several friends and relatives have found these gadgets extremely helpful. It’s like having a personal trainer to tell you exactly what you are doing right and motivate you.
Psychological Motivation For Couch Potatoes
Maladaptive patterns can increase internal stress. "Sometimes, rather than resolving their emotions, people can develop compensatory behaviours and correction requires increasing exercise as well as decreasing food intake. Fitness trackers are a blessing for those looking to establish a healthy relationship with themselves, Arouba says, but adds a rider – "Use it as one of the tools and not the only tool for better mental and physical health."
For A Better Night’s Rest
Fitness platforms and wearable devices have started focusing on overall health, including sleep. Unhealthy sleep patterns are related to almost all the common health problems, from cardiovascular diseases to diabetes, blood pressure and obesity. Moreover, a suitable and adequate sleep regime keeps mental health robust.
"The benefits of a healthy sleep cycle are tremendous, it reduces stress and anxiety and allows us to be more productive throughout the day. Sleep trackers help understand if users are at risk of sleep apnoea which can ultimately impact overall wellbeing. The app monitors the sleep cycle, suggests changes and motivates users to follow a better sleep regime if needed," says Dr Sibasish Dey, Head, Medical Affairs, Asia and Latin America, ResMed, a device company company that provide solutions for obstructive sleep apnea, snoring, hypertension and respiratory care.
Make it count with trackers
* Use the tracker every day.
* Set a goal. The most common figure is 10,000 steps per day, but check with your doctor.
* Find activities you enjoy that also fit into your daily life and can be sustained over the long-term.
* Recruit friends and family to use trackers as well.
* Be accountable. Check your numbers every day.
THE PROS AND CONS
Fitness Entrepreneur, Functional Medicine Coach and founder of 48 Fitness, raises the following points:
* Fitness applications and gadgets do more than track the number of footsteps. They help improve self-awareness, motivate us, enable us to form a community and promote an environment of healthy competition.
* With more cognition-oriented jobs, most of us even forget to take bathroom breaks and drink the required amount of water. Not everyone can afford a lifestyle coach to insist on taking the required steps. These gadgets help us remain conscious about fitness and take action.
* However, do not completely depend on these gadgets because they may be out of battery, and can even demotivate us when we are unable to do the required activity for the day. They must act as a reminder or a motivator, but not take full control of us.