Like many people with an Apple Watch, I’ve become obsessed with “closing the rings” on the fitness app. So much so that it’s become my new favourite watch face. For anyone not in the know, “closing the rings” is the equivalent of completing a certain number of steps, burning a certain number of calories or even standing a certain number of times throughout the day. “Closing the rings” has become a major part of my day.
Full disclosure, I’m a massive Apple fanboy.
The rise of tech in fitness has been phenomenal. Long gone are the days of bulky, uncomfortable heart rate monitors strapped to your chest. Now fitness trackers have become the norm. They’re a statement, a fashion accessory and a tool for fitness all-in-one. You’ve probably seen a colleague proudly sporting one or you may have one yourself.
But do they make a difference?
According to a recent study by John Jakicic in the Journal of the American Medical Association, fitness wearables may not lead to increased weight loss. In the study, Jakicic hypothesised that wearables would be helpful in promoting weight loss. However, the study found that the opposite was true. In the study, 470 people who were overweight were split into two groups over two years. One was assigned a low-calorie diet, increased physical activity and counselling. The other group were prescribed the same, but were given wearable technology six months in. The people in the first group used a website to self-monitor their diet and exercise whilst the second group used the wearable device.
Surprisingly, the group using the wearables lost significantly less weight than those who used the website. On average, they lost 7.7lbs compared to 13lbs for the non-wearables group. One possible theory for the result is that when the wearables group saw their physical activity throughout the day, they felt a false sense of security and would then eat more. The wearables may also be discouraging for people unaccustomed to exercise as they may see the goal as too far away to be achievable.
This is only one study, but it does pose an interesting question.
In my experience, anything that encourages people to move and be active can only be a good thing. There are still question marks over how accurate they are and whether this amount of obsession with tracking is necessarily a good thing, but I certainly won’t be taking my Apple Watch off anytime soon.
In fact, fitness has become the main focus of the Apple Watch. If you saw the most recent Apple keynote, you will have noticed that all of the new features of the Apple Watch Series 2 are entirely focussed on improving the device as a fitness tracker. There are of course many different wearables available on the market and I’m particularly looking forward to getting my hands on the new Fitbits.
I’m also excited to see how wearables can be integrate into group exercise and the future developments in this area. Stay tuned…
Wearables aren’t just limited to the average fitness enthusiast, however. They’ve become a staple in many professional sports. In fact, one incredibly successful team attributed their recent success to their use of tech within the analysis of the game. They are the Golden State Warriors.
They were the first team to use on-court cameras to track the passing and shooting of all their players. They also use wearables during practice sessions to monitor their heart rates, movement and stamina. The Golden State Warriors are constantly pushing the boundaries on how tech can be used inside and outside the sport to keep the team winning and progressing.
How can we apply these advances to our own training? It’s too soon to say. It is however, a very exciting time for tech within fitness.
…249 Calories to go…