In the health and wellness world, wearable technology has grown exponentially in recent years, and it's not showing any signs of slowing down. Today, it seems like everyone is using fitness technology in one way or another, from apps on their phones—like 8fit—to gear worn during exercise.
Wearable technology: the breakdown
Perhaps you're wondering what exactly we mean by wearable technology. These tech gadgets can transform lives, but they're certainly not for everyone. The market is growing rapidly for wearable technology, and products like these help health-conscious individuals to identify and stick to their fitness goals.
Gone are the days of clunky heart-rate monitors and pedometers—the new designs on the market are technologically superior, sleek, and fashion-forward. Many of these wearable tech devices are multi-functional, feeding information back to your phone or computer while helping you focus your training on your specific needs.
Wearable tech: Is it a good thing?
You may be asking yourself: do we really need more technology? Our lives are saturated with tech as they are, and sometimes being unable to switch off from emails and messages seems to cause some of us more harm than good.
Nowadays, wearable tech devices usually sync wirelessly with your smartphone or computer. One positive of this is that when you head to the gym, you can concentrate on your fitness and leave your phone in the lockers or your pocket if you prefer.
In the past, if you wanted to get a regular check on basic information like heart rate, blood pressure and general fitness levels, a trip to your doctor or medical practitioner would have been necessary—and perhaps only annually. With the advancement in wearable technology, this information is readily available to anyone and can help to focus your healthy lifestyle goals and provide a more regular assessment of where you are. Of course, this information isn't a replacement for routine physical evaluations, but it can be a useful resource in providing extra data for a health check.
Wearable technology can also be a fantastic motivator, helping to get you up and involved in fitness and reminding you when you should exercise and at what intensity. In the past, that was the job of a coach or personal trainer, but increasingly, it's one that's getting influenced by technology.
Types of wearable tech:
So, are you looking at investing in some wearable technology, but not sure what's available or what they do? Below is a simple guide to give you an overview of what's what.
Worn on the wrist just like any other watch, smartwatches do a whole lot more than tell time. The watch acts as a window to your smartphone, showing you messages, email, social media, and appointments (if you want that).
Fitness trackers: These trackers form one of the primary types of wearable fitness technology. They come in many forms, including bands for the wrist or clip-on pieces that can attach to your arm or belt. The basic function of a fitness tracker is to count the number of steps you take each day and to you to spend time running and walking. However, many trackers do even more than that.
Some fitness trackers can monitor sleep quality, showing you what your sleep pattern looks like so that you can make positive changes—like sleep meditation on your 8fit app—and get a better night's rest.
Because you wear them on the wrist, many trackers monitor your heart rate through taking your pulse, while a GPS measures how far you've traveled (whether by running or riding your bike).
Didn't think wearable technology couldn't get any more futuristic? Well, it can. Sometimes called e-textiles, these new fashions offer numerous ways to track movements. While some fabrics include a carefully hidden microchip, others feature mesh wiring inside the material.
Why bother, you ask? For some, it can offer a way to optimize their lives using data provided by the clothing. For others, the sensors in the fabric liberate the wrist or other parts of the body from any extra weight. Some examples include yoga pants that vibrate to encourage movement and training tops that monitor your intensity and heart rate in real-time, feeding data back to your smartphone.
As with most new gadgets, smart clothes come at a price. Until they become more common, these types of wearable technology are likely to stay on the pricier side.
Very similar to smartwatches with basic communication functions, smart jewelry includes trackers that you can wear in situations where a fitness band or smartwatch isn't subtle enough. Some are surprisingly laden with features, given their small and discreet sizing and can provide accurate heart-rate data.
Benefits of wearable tech
Wearable tech can help you:
Increase fitness awareness. Using wearable fitness technology keeps you aware of your fitness targets, even when you'd rather just forget. Many products have functions to remind you to work out or to keep you updated when you reach your daily target, making you more aware of fitness in your everyday life.
Set better fitness goals. Once you've put in your fitness metrics and have chosen your fitness goal, you can let your wearable tech keep you on track. Setting intensity levels and monitoring your progress means you'll continue moving forward at manageable levels.
Analyze your sleep quality. Sleep is one of the most important aspects of a healthy life and is essential in maximizing your fitness results. By monitoring your sleep and analyzing the data, you can make sure that you are getting the best night's sleep possible.
Fitness tech takeaway
For some people, being equipped with as much information on their personal fitness and progress can help them reach their goals. But not everyone needs to wear a tracker to get fit—after all, people have been working out and getting healthy long before the advent of wearable technology. So, if you're skeptical about wearing a tracker on your body at all times, don't worry—it's not for everyone!
The good thing is that you can use 8fit with or without a tracker. Wear yours during an 8fit workout to get precise results, or sync up your 8fit workouts to your phone's health app. It can take some time to find the right thing for you, but eventually, it will all make sense. Just keep experimenting!