Sometimes, technology is blamed for unhealthy habits – too much screen time and not enough exercise, for instance. But when you look a little closer, the technological revolution supports health in a variety of amazing ways. From robotic limbs to wearable monitors and devices, when used appropriately, technology can remind us how important our health is, motivate us to move, and encourage good habits throughout the day.
If you want to incorporate more technology into your fitness and wellness routine or learn more about how the technological revolution is making a difference in people’s lives, the following five tips showcase the powerful intersection of technology and health today:
Wearable technology provides ongoing reminders.
Wearables are smart, hands-free devices that you can wear on your body (or, in some cases, even implant) for real-time data monitoring – activity trackers are the most recognizable form with brand names such as Fitbit, Garmin, and Misfit. You can tailor the product to your specific needs: They can track your heart rate, calories burned and steps taken, and highlight trends over time. They can remind you to get up and move if you have been sitting too long. They can let you know how restful your sleep is. They can make lifestyle recommendations based on your current behavior. With global smartphone usage expected to grow 40 percent annually, the sky is the limit for wearable technology. While early wearables were often less than fashionable, newer products and devices are more sleek and attractive.
There is, of course, an app for that.
All you have to do is search for “health and fitness apps, ” and you will likely be blown away by the many high-tech options for living well. There are more than 250,000 mobile health apps, and about two-thirds of Americans are willing and interested in using such an app for health management. Perennial favorite MyFitnessPal does it all – activity tracking as well as diet and nutrition information (including a barcode scanner) while Couch to 5K will get you off the couch and ready for your first 5K race in just eight weeks. Sworkit (“simply work it”) gives you all the right moves based on the type of workout you want and the time you have and Meditation Studio helps you breathe a little deeper. Many users say they trust their mobile health apps more than they trust their doctors, and the market is expected to exceed $233 billion by 2020, according to Statista.
The booming supplement industry offers more fine-tuned formulations than ever.
Thanks to advances in technology and drug design, the supplement industry is more personalized than ever. Health nuts can find vitamins and minerals designed specifically for men or women, young or old, for energy or relaxation. Rather than one-size-fits-all vitamins that go largely undigested, you can find the formulations that suit your short- and long-term needs. Furthermore, advancements in research have allowed scientists to better understand how the brain reacts to different chemical compounds. We can harness these compounds, via nootropics or smart drugs that comprised of dietary and herbal supplements, to think more clearly and quickly and eloquently (for example, a burgeoning favorite, CILTEP). These same scientific advances have also helped us make massive leaps in treatment for cognitive diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s and others.
Prosthetics reveal the promising side of technology in terms of supporting greater movement.
Brain-controlled robotic limbs are no longer the stuff of science fiction, now creating amazing new possibilities for men and women with prosthetics or paralyzed limbs. Scientific research and development have recently led to limbs that can be precisely controlled, expanding range of motion and horizons thanks to the support of technology. Likewise, new robotic exoskeleton designs are helping those with some paralysis find movement again.
Social accountability encourages follow–through.
If you post your plans to train for your first tough mudder run, avoid fast food or meditate 20 minutes a day, you have greater incentive to not give up with so many friends, fans, and followers watching. You can create and connect with other online communities pursuing similar goals as well. You can even go as far as programs like Gym Pact, which gives you money for following through on your goals while charging you when you slip up.
From the latest heart rate monitors to more entertainment on cardio machines at the gym, technology and fitness have turned out to be a great match. Naturally, users must respond to their chosen technology for it to be effective. Find the technological inspiration that works for you, and then use that added motivation to meet and exceed your health and wellness goals.