Fitness trends – How technology is helping us stay on track
In Part 3 of our week-long series on diet and fitness trends, we took a closer look at the technology that plays a role in our meal and exercise routines.
The internet and smart phones both play an integral role in shaping the diet and fitness craze. Help working out and losing weight is at our fingertips, also making it more difficult to come up with excuses for not being motivated to shed a few pounds or get fit.
Not sure what a specific exercise is, such as a burpee? Some apps include video demonstrations, and thanks to the video site YouTube, all you have to do is Google it and an instructor will guide you through the correct way of doing an exercise or stretch.
There are dozens of fitness apps for to choose from. Some are free, others range in price from $2.99 to $9.99, covering everything from strength training and weight loss to yoga and running. You can exercise based on levels, specific work-outs, and with or without weights or other fitness gear.
Don't like going to the gym? The You Are Your Own Gym app offers over 200 different exercises and training methods that do not require equipment. The app is based on the best-selling book by Mark Lauren. According to the app description, Lauren honed his program for 10 years while preparing soldiers for the extreme demands of the most elite levels of the U.S. Special Operations.
For running, MapMyRun tracks your fitness by using the built-in GPS of your mobile device. You can record your work-out details, including duration, distance, pace, speed, elevation, calories burned, and the route you took on an interactive map. You can save and upload the data to MapMyRun.com.
The RunKeeper app enables runners, cyclists, hikers, etc. to track outdoor workouts and get the motivation they need to accomplish fitness goals also using GPS. You can connect with friends online to make the workouts social.
Kelly Harris and Kim Kiser, both of Point Pleasant, prefer using the MyFitnessPal app. Harris uses it to track work-outs, calories burned and nutrition.
Ciser, an instructor at Shore Point Fitness in Point Pleasant, plugs in circuit training exercise.
"I'm not really that concerned with that, it's more about nutrients, what you're getting in a day, for fats, carbohydrates, proteins, things along those lines, watching your sugar intake, your salt intake, and just making sure you're getting enough to fuel your body calorie-wise," Ciser said.
Before the apps existed, Ciser kept a written food diary, but said the app seems to be more efficient.
"It's just much easier when you see graphs and other things the app provides you with. It's much more that instant gratification, which is technology, which is the youth of America, they love that," she said.
Without the app, Harris joked, "I'd probably eat more." She said it holds her accountable every day because it's on her phone.
"You look forward to plugging things in and seeing what you got from your work-out and calories burned," Harris said.
With so many apps to choose from, it can be confusing. The website greatists.com breaks down the list of 49 Best Health and Fitness Apps of 2015. MapMyFitness and MyFitnessPal apps are included in the list. The list is broken down into the following categories: fitness, tracking and analytics, food and nutrition, mind and brain, overall health and productivity.
Marketwatch.com also compares the five best and worst reviewed diet and exercise apps. High marks from app users go to MyFitnessPal's Calorie Counter, LoseIt! by FitNow, Sports Tracker by Sports Tracking Technologies, Challenges by Nexercise and Instant Heart Rate.
On the flip side, some of the lower-rated diet and fitness apps were Nike + Fuelband, FitBit, Weight Watchers Mobile, My Tracks by Google, and Nike + Running.
Click below to read the previous articles in our "Fitness Trends" series:
- Fitness Trends: The diet plans that are gaining popularity
- Fitness Trends: How people are getting in shape
In Part 4 of our series on fitness trends, we'll examine different health and fitness techniques as well as surgical procedures for weight loss.