Sports technology pushing athletes passed their limits

Technology has become a massive part of day to day lives but it is as prominent as ever among athletes

Two men running along the beach with beach huts in the background
Tracking apps can connect to your watch to give you progress reports as you run

You have been for a run.  As you cross the finish line the pain is searing through your body becoming unbearable but you have made it. Your body dripping in sweat, you catch your breath. Have you beaten your personal best? Have you gone faster than your friend?

Sales of the variety of Fitbit devices have rocketed since its launch in California back in 2007 according to Mobi Health News, as more non-professional athletes have started to use technology to track their daily sporting activities.

Adie Blanchard, a sports and exercise specialist for ‘Rescon’ a human performance technology and service provider, explained that technology is: “educating people.

A picture of a runners wrist with a sport watch on
Step counters are becoming very popular

“Technology is slowly getting to the stage where everyone is using it and using it for different things,” explains Adie, “a lot of people will have activity trackers. It is spreading out and reaching more people. It is not just used in elite sport now. More people can access it.”

Technology is often praised by those who use it and criticised by those that do not. But what is the correct answer? Adie applauded technology for the way it is, “Also getting more people involved in sport. People having Fitbits makes people want to be more active and having their friends on it, it becomes a competition”

Contrary to that Adie suggested that it is possible to “have too much technology going on. Activity trackers can be a risk as well.

Pair of Trainers with smartphone showing an activity tracker
Technology is now a vital part of some athlete’s kit bags

“People may be injured and shouldn’t be as active as they are because they have the Fitbit on and they feel pressured to reach a certain amount of steps when actually you should have a day’s rest but you feel you need to reach a 10,000 step target.”

In all aspects people crave the use of technology to better themselves. A study conducted by Phil Reed, a professor of psychology at Swansea University, stated that between six and ten percent of smartphone users show signs of internet addiction.

Technology should assist fitness, not dominate it.”

Internet addiction is a term that is defined by netaddiction.com, as compulsive behaviour which interferes with normal living. Adie supported this research in relation to technology used in sport, saying that she thinks people are becoming “obsessed with it.”

She added, “It’s something we can’t get enough of and we get too absorbed and focus too much on it. Think too about beating your friends.”

Picture of a woman lifting weights in the gym
People push themselves to their limits to achieve the ‘perfect body’

The stigma behind the ‘perfect body’ is as intense as it has ever been; people are seeking a variety of options that will give them the extra edge. Technology is one of those options. Ben McKelvey, a former personal trainer and nutritionist, said: “Technology has massively improved sport and fitness.“It’s so advanced now that trainers can predict when and where a professional sportsman will get injured.”

Similarly to Adie, Ben expressed that using technology to further your fitness can obviously aid you but without doubt, it can hinder your progress. He believes that “it’s easy to over complicate training with the use of technology.

“Sometimes the basics of eating well and training hard get lost in the latest craze online.” Ben went on to say that it isn’t just technology that is directly used for fitness that is hampering people’s fitness levels. He said: “In the wrong frame of mind you can get lazier.

“You don’t even need to leave the house anymore to get your weekly shopping.” He did explain that he did use technology with his clients as it does have huge positives. “In the right frame of mind you can use technology to get fitter,” explained Ben.

He added “I’d also advise my clients to download apps like My Fitness Pal to help them keep on track with their diets.  “Other than that we kept it pretty old school with training. Technology should assist fitness, not dominate it.”

https://youtu.be/_1czv-x1rBc

Bailey Wood Written by:

Journalist at Bournemouth University. Extremely passionate about sport.

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