4 ways technology can help you get active before the Discovery Jacaranda FM Spring Walk

4 ways technology can help you get active before the Discovery Jacaranda FM Spring Walk

From social media to Skype chats and self-driving cars, technology may be well known for reducing our need to move, but it can also motivate people to be more physically active. Here's how.

female running

Do you love new tech, but spend too much time behind a screen? Why not use it to help you get more active and ready for the Discovery Jacaranda FM Spring Walk.

“In order to create an environment that’s more conducive to healthier lifestyles, we need to start by understanding human behaviour a lot better,” says Dr Craig Nossel, Head of Vitality Wellness. “A clearer grasp of the psychology of our decision-making will help us put incentives and structures in place to improve our health-related behaviours.”

READ ALSO: How to start running for health, fitness and pleasure - and stick with it

Technological advances, along with artificial intelligence, can go a long way towards improving this understanding of our health. Currently, how we get active is being influenced by these four technological trends:

1.  Social media fitspiration

There’s nothing new about exercising in a group to boost individual motivation. But thanks to social media, there are so many new ways to interact with people while getting active. From online fitness communities and social challenges on Facebook to training advice from fitness experts on Instagram and YouTube, social media has facilitated a whole new way to get – and stay – motivated and connected.

2.  Wearable technology

It’s no surprise that wearable tech has claimed a top-three spot on the American College of Sports Medicine’s list of global fitness trends for the past three years. Be it a heart rate monitor, step counter or an Apple Watch, fitness devices are making their mark on more and more wrists every day. Wearable technology has given people unprecedented control over their personal health and fitness.

Dr Carol Austin, Head of Performance Support for Team Dimension Data, explains how wearable tech has enhanced their team’s capabilities. “Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka is the first African cycling team to compete in the Tour de France – and we couldn’t have done it without technology. In addition to on-bike devices, every rider completes a daily mobile questionnaire that records a host of wellness parameters, including sleep patterns, mood, energy levels and injuries. This allows us to track each rider’s progress more effectively.”

3.  Immersive fitness

Where would you like to train today? Perhaps a cycle in the Tour de France. Or how about a jog along a secluded mountain path? Many exercise studios, fitness consoles and apps now promise to take your training to the next level with the help of virtual reality routes, surround sound, wrap-around studio screens and integrated displays. It even has a name: exertainment. But it isn’t just about keeping you entertained; ZWIFT, for example, encourages competition by displaying a leaderboard with every rider’s real-time stats during sessions.

4.  Health and fitness apps

From step counters and heart rate monitors to exercise journals and workout guides, there’s an app for every aspect of fitness. According to a 2015 study published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research, exercise apps encourage people to become significantly more active.

A good example of this is Discovery’s Vitality Active Rewards (VAR) programme, a smartphone-based app that is designed to encourage Vitality members to increase their activity levels. It accomplishes this by setting weekly personalised physical activity goals – and then rewarding you for achieving them. If you achieve your weekly goal qualify for a range of rewards: from smoothies and coffees to gym subscription subsidies and discounts on flights, running shoes and fitness tracking devices.

Click below to sign up for the Discovery Jacaranda FM Spring Walk. 

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