Exercise is essential to remaining healthy. It not only improves our physical health but is also proven to positively impact mental health too. It’s the ultimate health project.
Once upon a time, we’d struggle to measure the impact of our workouts. But in recent years, we’ve been given access to a wealth of information through wearable tech. This data can improve our form, stamina, and performance by using our own data to provide recommendations and achievable goals.
Wearables are useful for experienced athletes who can make sense of the information, but they’re now being used to help novices get the most out of their sports and workout routines. Here, we cover the four main ways wearable tech is helping us to improve our workout performance.
Improving performance with past data
The wearable tech we’re most familiar with when it comes to sports and exercise is the fitness watch, which tracks a number of metrics. For example, heart rate monitors come as standard in a lot of wearable sports tech. This is great for gym-goers who want to keep their heart rate in an optimal zone. Too low and you might not see progress; too high and you might experience poor post-workout recovery or even heart problems.
You can also track your workout time, estimated calories burnt, distance (for running and walking), and blood pressure. These are all useful metrics that will help you understand your current level of exercise and can be used as measures of success and progression. Historically, this type of data wouldn’t be accessible to anybody but elite athletes, but the proliferation of wearable tech has made it available to everyone from professional competitors to those just starting out on their sports or exercise journey.
Goals tailored to you
You’re most likely to achieve your goals when you set them in stone and write them down. Wearable devices have functions that provide you with realistic and achievable goals, whether that’s increasing your reps, hitting a marathon time, or extending the length of your workouts. Having instant visual access to these goals and seeing your progress towards them is highly motivational.
The people most likely to give up on their fitness journey are those who don’t see much progress and can’t visualise themselves achieving their goals. This is often the result of jumping into workout regimes headfirst with no progression goals or using a generic plan that is more suited to someone of differing abilities. The goal doesn’t have to be competing professionally or losing weight, but having something to work towards will help exercise newbies stick to their plans.
Personalised coaching through your device
Connection with your headphones or the ability to pair with your smartphone is a key feature of many sports tracking devices. Some leading devices and apps now offer motivational voice coaching as you run, pushing you to be the best you can be. Sports and exercise coaches aren’t necessarily accessible to the average non-professional exerciser, but receiving coaching is a great way to stay on track and feel motivated.
For beginners looking to get into running, programmes like Couch to 5K offer voice coaching alongside their comprehensive training plans, allowing novice runners to listen to their favourite celebrities including Jo Whiley, Sarah Millican, and Michael Johnson as they complete each session. More general workout apps with coaching include Seven, which features short workouts, and Jefit for strength training.
Workouts that suit your lifestyle
Everyone will have different goals, fitness levels, and mentalities. For some, they may just want to increase their overall cardiovascular health to be able to play with their children. Others may want to be able to run for more than a few hundred yards without getting out of breath. Alternatively, your goal may be to increase your physical strength. That’s why personalised programmes will be more beneficial than generic ones.
By using your goals, existing performance, and progress, your wearable device can create personalised workout programmes. Each workout will have different goals to hit, like how much you run at top speed or how many reps you can perform. As you continue with these workouts, they’ll get progressively more challenging so you can improve further.
Science is fuelling our workouts and we have more data at our hands than ever before. Whether you’re interested in studying a sports science degree or you’re a general fitness enthusiast, wearable tech can help you to understand your current performance and how you can improve it. No matter your exercise goal – whether that’s increasing your cardiovascular fitness, physical strength, or speed – you can achieve it with this valuable information.