Fitness trackers and wearable technology are at the forefront of global fitness. We have become obsessive with data, gamification and tracking our fitness. It has been revolutionary in the way people exercise and has been a game-changer for some, helping with motivation and goal-reaching.
But like all good things, there is also a bad side! We can we become too attached to the numbers. Instead of our watches being a positive addition to our training schedules, they can cause problems. For example; overtraining, being mentally drained, training at dangerous levels or allowing the technology to take over your life.
So where does the fun stop? When are we using too much technology? How do we know if we have gone too far? All good questions. The truth is, like all exercise, it is individual and relative to what you are trying to achieve and how you like to exercise.
When does the fun stop?
When we introduce technology it can be initially very exciting and almost overwhelming. This quickly turns into a thirst for more. Once we can associate a number with an activity it becomes human nature to chase the next number and try to improve upon it. We always want more! Although in some cases, this is the problem. Mainly because we want the numbers to either come down or maintain the same level to establish consistency. While consistency in training is important, your performance will likely fluctuate over time which can be demoralising if too much focus is put upon these numbers.
The other problem with performance data is that it is only used in an active stage (during the training session) and not in a passive stage (recovery). Meaning we only track the exercise and not the recovery. Recovery is the most important part and essential to great performance in your next session!
With more expensive fitness trackers, you can record your recovery. Your sleep, stress and resting heart rate can be tracked which indicate if you should or shouldn’t exercise. Without measuring this data or relying on training session data only, you could be exercising too frequently and too intensely which may prevent you from improving.
When are we using too much technology?
And, when do we know if we have gone too far?
The only way of knowing this is by understanding how your gadgets are affecting you mentally. Is tracking impacting or preventing your sleep, leading to hours looking at your phone or filling in spreadsheets? If you answer ‘yes,’ maybe it is becoming overly complicated and detrimental. If you are using data from a technical aspect or wanting to compete to a higher level, you should be looking at outsourcing this process to your coach or trainer. The investment in time would be more valuable to your own health.
Another reason that fitness trackers may be causing a negative effect on users might be because we benchmark against people that are professional athletes as this data can be readily available. It’s quite common in the fitness industry and unrealistic for the everyday user.
Knowing that technology may be becoming a hindrance, we have put together 4 ways of exercising without having to worry about counting, measuring, recording or analysing anything at all. Focus on just having fun, enjoying the exertion, nature and exploring your limits. Maybe later this year you could try something new outside, leave your smartwatches at home and realign yourself with nature or the activities that are locally accessible to you.
- Climb some stairs
Movement is still possible without going out! If you have stairs in your home or building this can be a great way to get some exercise in without needing any equipment. No need to count flights or time. Leave your fitness trackers for another day and just enjoy moving, listen to your body and take rests when needed.
- Go for a walk
- Ride a bike
Like walking, the UK has some great cycling networks. It’s obviously much faster than walking which is handy if you’re tight on time. You could even use this as your mode of transport for going on your essential food shop.
This is a great way to get in some gentle exercise (or moderate if you’re digging hard!). You can get outside to enjoy the sun without having to measure anything. Next week, starting Monday 27th April, is National Gardening week so, we’re putting together some tips on how you can reduce the chance of injury if you haven’t tended your plants in while. Subscribe to our blog to read our articles as soon as they come out!
If you want to keep on exercising with us with your usual routine, as always we have a whole range of workouts for you this week. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram to get our health and fitness guidance through our Coach, Care, Connect programme.