The Electronics of Staying Fit
My friends Ron and Edda Laxer were visiting in Kingston this weekend. Ron and Edda are both very fit, and Ron is increasingly finding ways to stay in shape. He introduced me to a product called ‘Fitbit’, which is a small device worn on your wrist to track your activity: your steps, your calories burned and much more. It communicates through Bluetooth with any smart-like device; an iPhone, an iPad or equivalent.
This has prompted me to investigate what is out there. And what is out there is amazing! There are wireless weight scales, activity-tracking headbands, and devices that give you feedback on the effectiveness of how you brush your teeth. There are devices that can “detect viruses, bacteria, toxins, proteins and even allergens in food using the smartphone’s camera as a spectrometer.”1 You can monitor your heart rate, your distances travelled, your sleep time, your sleep quality, your calories burned, the intensity of a workout, how much you perspire, and your skin temperature.
How do these devices work? Well it’s all about providing feedback to accelerate self-motivation. “They make you constantly aware of how active you are (or aren’t). They let you compare your data with friends online, establishing a friendly rivalry or at least guilt. And they therefore motivate you to make changes that add up: park farther away, take the stairs, get off one bus stop early.”2
I am sure there may be evidence as to how effective these exercise feedback tools are. But to be very scientific, I am going to start my own N=1 trial. I am currently doing pretty well with my roughly five days per week, hour-long exercise routine. But I can do better!
So I am off to the fitness store to ‘arm-up’ with the latest and greatest fitness tracker. I’ll hook it up to my computer, my iPhone and my iPad. I’ll count my steps, track my calories, and measure my distances travelled. And I’ll report back to you, my blog readers, on how I have done.
So if you have any advice on how to use these marvels of technology or any other suggestions for keeping fit, respond to the blog; or better yet… please drop by the Macklem House, my door is always open.