Using technology to promote physical activity.

This blogpost is about an article “Using technology to promote physical activity” that I found on humankinetics.com. It is a part of a book “Advanced Fitness Assessment and Exercise Prescription, Sixth Edition“, by Vivian Heyward. In this article they talk about how and more specific which kind of technology can convince people to be more active.

First of all they mention a few regular technologies, like pedometer, accelerometer, heart rate monitor, gps and geographic information system. These technologies exist for quite some time now. Everybody knows what they can do. However they keep improving and keep getting cheaper. This means they start to appear everywhere. In our mobile phones, watches,… According to the author this only benefits the measurement. Because if you can combine these measurements they are a lot  more accurate.

Another “technology” she mentions benefits from this evolution. The interactive video games. They use these sensors and incorporate them in video games. Although they are never as good as real physical activities (sports), they can be an encouragement to start with physical exercises. They are far less scary because of there playful character. And they are doing much better than the sedentary computer games a lot of people are exposed to. This is also called persuasive technology, technology that tries to adapt our behavior without us knowing it.

I like this kind of evolution in our society, it encourages everyone to keep active instead of making our lives to easy by doing everything for us. However it could still end up bad. If people think they can get away with only playing on the wii, they still will live unhealthy. I think it could be a good starting point or extra next to “real” sports. Only in some cases where people aren’t able to sport (like elderly people or people with an injury) it could be a solution. I more believe in bringing the sensors in a outdoor situation. Use these technologies to record and track how someone is performing. I foresee a great future in these applications. If they keep privacy of all these logged info in mind of course.

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