Fitness in the Realm of Technology

Article by:  Joyce Chen

Photos by: Ji Young Kim

As technology has grown over the past decades, technological applications and programs have started to perform more tasks that help people with their everyday lives. There are programs that improve our work efficiency and organization: iProcrastinate helps us manage our school work, Facebook keeps us updated about the world around us, and Evernote helps us take and organize our notes.  There are also programs that help with navigation: Apple’s own Maps that calls out directions like a GPS, Google’s Google Maps application that provides actual photographs of places in our world, and the new app Waze that features alerts for traffic.  But this impact of technology has not only been seen in our everyday work and navigational tasks; modern technology has also revolutionized our lifestyle and fitness.

IMG_4730There are many applications that help us stay fit: Superfoods helps people keep track of what they eat, MyFitnessPal encourages people to continue exercising their bodies, Wii Sports provides sport simulations that allow users to play a myriad of sports in limited spaces, and iTriage offers physician-certified answers to disease symptom questions. And this relationship between technology and fitness doesn’t end there, there are many more fitness gadgets like fancy Wi-fi weighing scales, Nike +, the list goes on and on.

However when I asked the ISM community about whether or not technology is helpful in motivating people to stay fit, I received different answers. Positively, a junior girl finds “technology like the iPod very useful when it comes to running because it helps [her] keep track of the distances [she runs] and the amount of calories [she burns].” In agreement, another junior girl added that “the cute reminders made by the fitness apps on [her] phone constantly motivate [her] to do yoga, and that without them, [she] might have just stayed on the couch and watched TV the whole day”.

IMG_4724Unfortunately, not all students found technology useful in their efforts to stay fit. A senior girl revealed “although I have many fitness programs on my laptop, I keep forgetting to do them”. Additionally a PE teacher commented that fitness technology “sometimes fools us into thinking that we are exercising when we are actually not, because they are not very accurate, nor are they effective”. Similarly, a retired athlete from the Philippine’s National Tennis team stated “fitness technology, especially like Wii Sports, cannot get people to exercise to the same level as doing real sports, and it’s more expensive, so I never encouraged my family and friends to use it”.

Overall, the opinions on fitness gadgets varied significantly. For some they may be useful in encouraging them to keep working hard, whilst for others they may simply be some illusion that makes people think they are exercising. In conclusion, it is clear that technology can serve as a helpful tool in fitness; however the motivation, encouragement, and discipline to stay fit comes from the person. Technology may serve as a means of encouraging, teaching and reminding but it is the choice of the person exercising to follow what these apps tell them and to ultimately stay fit.