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Tech and exercise – friend or foe?

Thu, 21st Jan 2016
FYI, this story is more than a year old

The New Zealand Register of Exercise Professionals is calling for people to not get lost in technology when trying to get healthy, and says it is important to weigh up the positives and negatives of incorporating technology and exercise.

“While we often think of technology as a new addition to our training, those exercising have been using basic technology such as heart rate monitors and pedometers for over 30 years,” the organisations says.

“However it is in more recent years that technology has had more impact on our daily lives, in positive and negative ways.

“The benefits of technology are most often seen when it encourages us to get moving rather than offering us an alternative to moving, such as wearable technology and app based tools.

However, the negative impacts of technology most often occur when we use it too much, leading to injuries such as neck and back problems due to hunched posture over a computer or phone, or when it leads to a lack of physical activity due to the length of time sitting in front of a screen, the organisation explains.

The organisations says while the act of sitting in front of a computer for long periods may lead to a lack of activity, what people read and the videos they watch can be positive if they encourage exercise, or give advice on getting active.

“The trick is to turn inspiration into action,” it says.

“Many of those who work as exercise professionals have embraced technology and offer advice and even exercise programmes online so you can get access to good advice, not just people sharing their own opinions or selling a product,” the organisation says. “By working with a REPs registered trainer or exercise professional who can give the right advice, and taking advantage of the latest technology, you get the best of both worlds; the right advice and the tools to use that advice.

The Register says technology on the go is where it sees the most positive developments. “With basic heart rate monitors and pedometers being eclipsed by devices that can track not only your heart rate, and apps and software that can give you exercise guidance and connect you with the wider community, or your trainer,” it says.

“There is also the benefit of being able to easily track effort and results over a period of time. After all the most effective exercise is one that you maintain over an extended period of time.

“It's important to use your technology to enhance your workout, rather than take it over. It's the effort you put in that determines your results.

The organisations explains the downside of technology is when it helps people be inactive, and people need to be conscious of their ‘screen time'.

“If lack of time is something that you e a reason for not being able to fit in exercise, keep a diary of how much time you spend on your devices - could this time be better used being active? While a full exercise session has more benefits than a short burst, you may be surprised to know that even short bouts of getting your heart rate up help,” it suggests.

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