The Internet of Things and Fitness Technology

 

The Internet of Things has penetrated many aspects of our lives, from our home thermostats to automobiles to mobile devices.  The ability to send and receive data has proved to be extremely valuable for many objects on the market today and has revolutionized the way we perform many everyday activities.  One of the areas that has seen a dramatic rise in the Internet of Things approach is the infrastructure of fitness.  Previously left to nutritionists and trainers, fitness can now be tackled with a series of wearable technologies, devices, and applications.  With the rise of products such as the Fitbit, Apple Watch and other tracking devices, the ability to monitor one’s health, exercise, and activity has never been easier.

The FitBit is a small wearable bracelet embedded with a chip that tracks heart rate, measures calorie burn, activity levels, and several other key health statistics and connects them to a Fitbit App so that people can easily watch their activity and levels during the day.  The newest Fitbit model, the Alta HR, plans to add sleep monitoring to its list of capabilities.  Fitbit believes that with the increase in technologies such as these, people are able to take control of their goals and health motives.  While sleep monitoring would have previously only been able to be done in lab tests or sleep labs, it can now be done from a simple bracelet (Bell, 2017). The Apple Watch, Apple’s foray into the wearable tech market, has also included fitness features to help its users monitor their heart rate.  It has a feature which buzzes when the wearer has not reached his or her fitness goal for the day, motivating and raising awareness of activity levels.  Other devices such as HAPIfork, My Fitness Pal, and others have contributed to the popularity of the technological approach to the infrastructure of fitness.  With these technologies, the infrastructure has certainly become more independent, and self reliant; it has moves of the gym and into the home.

A question that comes from this investigation into the Internet of Thing’s implementation in the fitness industry is whether or not it has worked to curb obesity and fuel weight loss, and further more whether or not the connectivity of certain objects can be beneficial.  Pittsburgh people using wearable technology devices lost an average 13 pounds compared to an average of 7.7 lost by those wearing fitness tracking devices.  This, and many other studies, have proved that these devices do not, in fact, make a significant impact on weight loss or overall fitness (Carroll, 2017).  However, they can make people more aware of their habits and important statistics such as heart rate, that they would not normally check on such a regular basis.  Though they certainly do not harm, it is up to debate whether or not they have helped people to lose weight and get healthier.    It is interesting to see how the internet of things will impact the fitness industry and its infrastructure in the coming years.

Resources:

Bell, Lee. “Fitbit Wants To Revolutionize Your Sleep With The New Alta HR Wearable.” Forbes. Forbes Magazine, 07 Mar. 2017. Web. 12 Mar. 2017.

Carroll, Aaron E. “Wearable Fitness Devices Don’t Seem to Make You Fitter.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 20 Feb. 2017. Web. 12 Mar. 2017.

 

 

 

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