As the focus of wellness tracking surges throughout the world, technology is attempting to keep up the pace. New ways of tracking wellness abound and seem to improve faster than the consumer can purchase these cutting edge gizmos. As the fitness options ramp up, many of these devices are ending up unused. Furthermore, just as getting on the scale can help some and discourage others, the personal monitoring devices like Fit Bit and Mio Global can make wellness more of a chore than a life strategy. After 12,000 steps or 35 minutes of cardio, if one doesn’t receive the results sought after all of that work-out seems like an epic fail.
Among the contenders in the personal fitness tracker category are: Fitbit, Jawbone, Basis and Microsoft gadgets that do a variety of things collecting your personal data throughout the day. Jawbone collects data to report on habits and even offers a “smart coach” to enhance fitness and wellness levels. A couple of things that many personal trainers will suggest is getting up your heart rate for at least 20 minutes. Combining cardio, plyometric and weight training is all essential for overall health. Additionally, measuring one’s heart rate both when active and at rest is also important.
Mio Global, the gold standard among serious athletes, has a metric that requires strenuous exercise until one hits a score of 100. Millions of years ago the Garmin with its heart rate monitor did a similar sequence of metrics to offer advice on workouts for desired results. The chest strap was a bit clunky and the wearable watch element hideous, but the device made this fitness fan change up my workouts. Of course, Mio and their PAI smartphone app are leaps and bounds ahead of the old clunker once the industry leader.
The PAI app is easy to use and understand. Furthermore, it takes into account: age, gender, peak and resting heart rate, weight and type of exercise. As many may already know, some forms of exercise burn more calories than other types. For instance cross country skiing is a big calorie burner whereas casually walking is not as stellar of a calorie or fat burner. The app also adjusts expectations, just as a personal trainer would, changing expectations and routines making it harder to reach the goal of 100 as one’s personal fitness increases. Finally, the app offers motivational information like weekly and monthly accomplishments with information on how this might add to one’s longevity.
Unfortunately, while there are a variety of studies out there like the HUNT study which tracked fitness levels among Norwegians. The study linked obesity, lifestyle factors and optimal activity as related to obesity and death among 60,000 Norwegian participants over a 20 year period. This sample is so obviously limited that while valuable the data doesn’t speak to what other ethnicities would measure in similar studies. Environmental, cultural, genetic and dietary conditions would also need to be factored in to come up with more globally adjusted results.
While the personal wellness tools and trinkets are popular among those who are already fit, there is hope that the accessories will truly hold many to a fitness standard. There is also hope that as personal data is collected and tabulated during one’s day, there will be a fitness whisperer effect encouraging the reluctant to embrace fitness more enthusiastic. In fact, many hope that gyms and group fitness classes will remain at comfortably crowded levels once the New Year’s resolutions have lost their glimmer.