IS TECHNOLOGY RUINING FITNESS?
With the increase in popularity of running, cycling and other outdoor pursuits,. There has also been a surge in technology built to track these sports being bought.
But, is this doing us any good?
Is it a way to track improvement or do we become obsessed? In today's blog we will look into the technology in these sports and see whether or not it is helping or hindering the sports we love.
Let's get into it, with a bit of personal reflection:
Last summer, GARMIN suffered a ransomware attack which saw millions of users unable to sync their devices with their phones, meaning STRAVA uploads were no longer possible and you couldn't access features like seeing if you were the quickest of the day, or if you beat your PB in a particular section of your ride/run.
While a lot of people (myself included) were distraught at this false competition being taken from us. I actually realised it was nice to look at your GARMIN after a ride (the devices still worked) and think, ah, that's what I have done today. And then leave it there.
In fact I would say it has completely changed how I look at my rides.
My STRAVA is now private, I upload to my app if I want too and rarely sit gazing at the sections on STRAVA.
All in all it has made riding less data based, and a lot less time consuming as I am not distracted after a ride. It's home, wash the bike, wash my kit, wash myself and job done.
I personally think technology is a blessing and a curse. I love my GARMIN head unit, but I can get obsessed with it particularly if I am training for races. I don't get as much pleasure out of STRAVA anymore and to be honest. If I didn't use it for clients I wouldn't have an account on there.
Interesting how things change, but what about you? are you on the fence?
let's take a look at some wearable/ride on tech and see the good and bad points from both:
1: GPS head unit:
The GPS head unit is my favourite form of fitness tech. Coming with a host of useful features like maps, elevation, speed and the ability to sync devices like power meters and HR monitors to them too.
They make for a fantastic training tool if you are into that, with all the data being in an easy to access place you can see it all in front of you.
This does make training more involved, motivational and easier and for that they are great.
However: Features like smart phone notifications can also be a huge turn off (more on phones below) unless you are waiting for an emergency call, why would you want to know if someone's liked your insta post or slid into your DM's?
The advantage to these units is the date you see is fully customisable and they record everything, so you can see exactly how your ride was without syncing to phones and strava.
For the reasons above. I will always use my GPS head unit.
2: GPS watch:
Similar to the head units, but with a smaller, sometimes more simple layout. These come in all shapes and prices and features range.
Mine just has GPS and smart phone notifications without maps and the more advanced features of the higher price ones.
I run a vivoactive 3.
Personally I think it is fantastic for monitoring running performance as I can do this without my phone. It also works well as a cycling GPS if I forget to charge my head unit or forget it.
My favourite feature about my vivoactive is the alarm. I can set it to wake up and it just vibrates, wakes me up and I can leave my phone elsewhere so I do not get a nice dose of blue light when I wake up.
Again the watch comes with smart phone notifications (that you can turn off), calorie tracking (take this with a pinch of salt) and steps monitoring. With a host of other features.
I love my GPS watch and wear it all the time. But as a watch, I keep the phone features out of it.
The mobile phone. I remember the days when snake was advanced. The modern mobile phone can be classed as a fitness tracker now because it has so many features on there. Apps like a STRAVA, MAP MY RUN and others are available at the touch of a button.
They are somewhat accurate at measuring your speed and distance and are rarely forgotten.
My issue with phones however, is that there is so much to get distracted with on them. And while I believe they should always be with you I think so on a much more in case of emergency basis.
Part of the riding experience for me is being in the open air, not having data shot into my mind and allowing my mind to forget about all that.
So for me, phones are there strictly to be used as phones if needs be. Nothing more.
Is technology a help or hinderance?
Ultimately, this boils down to your personal opinion. I see both the fantastic benefits they can provide to training, emergencies and interaction. Making cycling a much more fun experience. Phone camera's now for example are amazing and prevent you from carrying an actual camera, lessening the load.
I have also been in the position where I get obsessed by tracking data, and how much time this can take from my day.
We all have that mate who, post ride just sits and looks through his/her phone to see who was the quickest.
Instead of, you know. Talking about the ride they have had with their FRIENDS.
I would say, have a think. What is your consumption like and what do you actually use it for, does it help or hinder your fitness?
I would love to know your thoughts. to email me what you think.
I hope you have enjoyed this blog.