August 18, 2015
Have you ever wondered just what your heart rate is when you’re swinging a kettlebell? Or how about the number of calories you burn while you’re on the elliptical? If you’re the kind of person who gets pumped up by setting a goal for yourself to stick to, then you’re in luck – fitness trackers are all over the consumer market these days, and they’re more affordable than ever. This wearable technology is able to analyze your athletic performance, helping you hit personal records as big as marathons and as small as how many steps you take daily.
Still not sure if monitoring your movements is right for you? I think we may be able to convince you to at least give it a shot. Keep reading to see why wearable tech just might be the future of exercise.
Who Uses Wearable Tech?
These days, it’s not just the big-name, corporate-sponsored athletes who are utilizing the power of wearable technology – it’s anybody who wants to pay close attention to how they’re moving and how they can improve. The industry may have started with something as small as heart monitors, but it’s since exploded into accessories that are both fun and functional – not to mention accessible to everyone from casual gym members to diehard workout enthusiasts.
Wearable tech is popping up everywhere: from skate parks to the basketball court, to the golf course to the batting cage and to the motocross and bmx trails. Skateboarders are using it to get a higher Ollie, basketball players are using it to get more air in their dunks, golfers are using it to improve their putt and swings, baseball and softball players are using it to improve their swing, bmx riders use it to learn new tricks and motocross riders are using tech to increase their speed.
According to Statista, the value of the wearable tech industry is expected to reach 19 billion U.S. dollars by 2018. That’s a lot of exercise logged.
I recently did some research to determine just who is using fitness trackers and what they primarily use them for, and here’s a sample of what I found out:
- Active Americans are using precision trackers to assess their performance milestones such as speed, distance and strength and health stats like calories, weight loss and muscle mass.
- 40% are sharing these numbers and metrics on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram and Snapchat.
- An impressive 90% of respondents expressed interest in a device that measures and overlays performance metrics onto shareable video highlights.
So not only are Americans using this wearable tech to measure their own personal performance, but they’re also sharing these metrics on social media. Which brings us to our next point:
What do People Use Them For?
On the surface level, this should be an easy answer: People use fitness trackers to keep track of their workouts. And this is still true in many ways; a lot of athletes check their trackers to note the speed and distance of their workouts, monitor their heart rate, see how many calories have been burned, and so on. But with the rise of technology and social media in our society comes more of a desire to be a part of something larger – a greater community of fitness enthusiasts fueled by competitive spirit. That’s where fitness trackers come in: They create an atmosphere almost like a video game, where you can compete with others to have the highest score (and get fit at the same time).
The gamification of exercise is great for multiple reasons: it keeps you motivated to be active; it gives you a goal to work towards, be it daily, weekly, or long term; it connects you to a community of people online who can give you advice and cheer you on. It also gives you a chance to show off your achievements, which is definitely a building block of social media today.
Fitness trackers are giving a high-tech edge to sharing one’s workout results. Some are coming equipped with HD camera functionality, allowing athletes to record and upload videos of their basketball moves or gymnastic flips. Others are able to analyze acceleration, velocity of movement, vertical height, hang time, in-air rotation, loft, lie and more. So whether it’s just you or your entire social network that’s watching a playback of your performance, fitness trackers are becoming more and more advanced when it comes to analyzing – and proudly displaying – your hard-fought workouts.
The introduction of mass produced fitness trackers and wearable technology have made many of the insights previously only available to professional athletes available to the amateur athlete. Many of the metrics tracked by these platforms were previously available, but only at elite price points with a great deal of equipment and expert insight required. Amateur athletes can now use fitness trackers to come to similar conclusions as athletes using advanced tech, as well as develop customized training programs, evaluate results, and create a friendly competitive environment between users. These abilities make it easier than ever for any athlete to improve their performance and tweak their approach over time, making them more efficient and effective athletes.
The rise of wearable tech is making it easy to measure and analyze your athletic performance in both the big leagues and the rec leagues – as well as adding a fun competitive edge to what used to be a solo routine. You still have to lace up your shoes and put the work in – but having a fitness tracker programmed with goals and an audience to motivate you might just make it a little more fun.
Do you use wearable tech when you exercise? How has it helped you in your workouts?
Image Credit: Flickr/Eyesplash – Explore is so 2
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