Having a good coach or mentor is just as crucial to a successful workout and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. With today’s modern technology allowing for the convenience of wearing your inspirational coach on your wrist, the opportunity seems too favorable to pass up. Still, as with any nascent commodity it is important to survey the available products to find the best—whether it be most versatile, longest lasting, or simply best for you through tools for more personal customization. With careful review and an appeal to science, it appears the technology may be jumping the gun; with many techniques used by new products not heavily backed by scientific authority, the consumer may have to be more cautious about being roped in to the flashy applications that purport only to want to help.
What is popular is not always right, and certainly not solely by virtue of that. Kelsey Dallas of Deserter News notes that these more social smartphone applications and convenient fitness bands have “revolutionized the art of fitness”1 but the question remains: have they done so for the better? In what way have they positively influenced the user? One study done at Northwestern University reported positively in what they call behavior changing techniques—methods of promoting good fitness that shape the user’s habits over time.
Consumers avidly seek out the best apps and using them in attempts to modernize fitness and inspire themselves to better personal health but the overflowing presentation of acquired stats about the body (for example, blood pressure, steps taken, and calories burned) remain superfluous and do not motivate the user to keep up healthy routines as much as the companies offering them hope. However, easy motivation might, and the study in Chicago revealed that the more social apps which open others to the encouragement of friends bring back far more positive clinical results. In this day and age, the trend moves closer and closer to societal integration and interconnectedness. What remains all the more hopeful for the future of these apps is that the growing craze around them will push companies to keep improving what they offer such that consumers not get tired of stalling, unproven technologies. Much is left to explore in an already promising domain.