Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Technology and Exercise

When I first caught the running and exercise bug back in the early 1980’s, I remember I would finish up a running workout, hop in my Datsun 210 wagon and drive the route I had just run to see how far I had traveled.
Today, we have a myriad of choices on how we can track our exercise. Steps, calories, mileage and heart rate a just a few of the items that can be recorded by small, powerful electronic devices that we can take along with us while we work out. Being a runner, the introduction of the GPS watch was a huge advancement in technology that affected not only how I ran but how I could use the data to improve my overall goal setting and training in general. I could now save and track my mileage, pace, elevation and routes. I could look for patterns in my training. I could see what was working and what was not, or if I was in a rut and burning myself out.
I am currently using my trusty old Garmin Forerunner 305 watch for my long runs and also the Strava App on my phone for my shorter runs. The Garmin synchs to the Strava App, so all my runs can be reviewed in one location.You can also check your health insurance company to see if they have any incentive programs, like Oscar Insurance. They give each one of their members a Misfit Flash watch that they can use like the Garmin and sync to the Oscar app to review all their runs and much more. Every day a member meets their goal they earn back cash rewards they can redeem each month. They are available in New York and New Jersey and you can check out their website for more information.
As much as I love all the data and numbers, I do go out for one run a week with no electronic tracking devices. I like to call this a “naked” run.  It feels rather liberating! It reminds me of the old days and it also allows me to just go out and enjoy my time running without caring about time, mileage or speed. The technology and devices are a great tool to track progress, but it can be very easy to lose yourself in all that data and forget that one of the main reasons people turn to exercise is to reduce stress from all the data, numbers and information that we receive from work, school and life on a daily basis!
So, embrace the technology, use it wisely, but don’t be afraid to take a break from it now and then.
In the end, it’s all about keeping moving and staying consistent. Don’t just focus on today’s workout. Look down the road and ask yourself: If I stay consistent with my exercise, where could I be with my fitness in a year from now?
Think about that on your next “Naked” run or workout.