Wednesday 11 November 2015

Fitness technology, the fastest growing trend in the health and fitness world

Fitness technology, the fastest growing trend in the health and fitness world, a popular choice because of accountability and feedback

Chris Silvernale grins when he says a Fitbit is on his Christmas wish list. The certified personal trainer and owner of NoCo Fitness in central Greeley firmly believes technology has a place in fitness.
With the growing popularity of health and fitness apps and wearable technology, fitness experts like Silvernale are adopting technology as a way to help clients reach goals. 
Last month, American College of Sports Medicine predicted the top fitness trend for 2016 would be wearable tech, like fitness trackers, heart rate monitors, GPS devices, smart watches and more. Walter R. Thompson, the lead author of the college’s survey, said these devices give immediate feedback that is useful to people. 
Silvernale’s theories for the growing popularity of fitness apps and tech are similar, but for him, it boils down to one thing: It works. 
Apps that help track calorie intake and output, like his favorite, MyFitnessPal, and the Fitbit help increase accountability and track results. That way, when someone has a good week, they can see exactly why and strive to repeat it. 
This technology also helps people see progress over time. For example, especially with apps that track heart rate, time per distance or similar metrics and compile that data for long periods of time, someone can see that after a month of running, their heart rate is slower. That’s a sign of getting healthier. 
“I think it gives people extra feedback on how they’re doing, a sense of success, accomplishments, then also a reality check if they’re not doing what they need to do,” Silvernale said. 
Teri Smith, a wellness coach with Balance Health in Greeley, also puts all her clients on MyFitnessPal, because she thinks the food and exercise log is a necessary tool for success and also a great opportunity for motivation. She uses the app as a way to reach out to her clients when they aren’t in her office. When they have a good workout, she can see it, since she’s linked into their account, and she can congratulate them. When they’re having an off day, she can reach out and encourage them to get back on track. 
She knows it can be a lot of work at first to start making healthier choices, so having the necessary tools, like an app that helps you keep track, can help. 
Silvernale has a client who started training with him six weeks ago when he first got a Fitbit. The man was excited to know everything his new gadget could do, so he could get the most out of it. 
For the first two weeks, he lost five pounds each week. Then, he dropped to losing a pound or two per week, a pretty normal occurrence, Silvernale said. After a few weeks of that, he plateaued and stopped losing weight. When that happened, Silvernale and his client looked at his calorie intake and exercise to pinpoint exactly when and where he should be making changes to spur weight loss. In six weeks, he’s lost 15 pounds through diet changes, exercise and tracking his progress, Silvernale said. 
Something else Silvernale sees with Fitbits and other step trackers especially are a desire to achieve. When someone sets a goal, be it the daily recommendation of 10,000 steps or a customized goal, they typically try to beat that goal. 
Fitness apps and wearable tech allow people to incorporate things they’re already doing — like checking their smartphone or playing on their technology — into their fitness routine. 
The technology also can give people a sense of confidence, he said. Since many of the apps plug into social media, people can upload their workout information onto Facebook and share it with their friends, who will encourage them. He said he’s even seen others get inspired to be more active after seeing people share workout information on social media. 
“People have their phone with them, what, 90 percent of the time? So I try to tell them, it’s pretty easy once you get used to them,” Smith said. 

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