You don’t need tech to work out – all you need is a working body. However, sports technology and gadgets can make the experience way more fun, as well as help you perform at your optimum level. We are truly in the digital age, and this is beginning to impact almost everything we do – not least sport and fitness.
Why Is Sports Tech So Popular?
The American College of Sports Medicine has named wearable tech one of the top fitness trends for 2017. And the industry is growing at a staggering rate as more and more people integrate sports wearable technology into their workouts and training. Nardia Norman, a trainer for the Australian Institute of Fitness, thinks one of the reasons for this could be motivation. “People look for things outside themselves that give them that pop of motivation” she says. It’s safe to say that if you’ve got a FitBit and fitness apps tracking your progress and showing how you’re improving, you’re more likely to want to keep going.
When you think about fitness gadgets, the first thing that comes to your mind might be wrist-worn wearables like the FitBit. There are a myriad of smart watches to choose from – most offering basically the same things. An interesting addition to the market is Actofit, a wearable that detects different workouts and muscles used. Other than that, most smart watches at the moment are working on improving functionality for a smoother experience, rather than incorporating new features.
Sports wearable technology is moving beyond smart watches. Under Armour has unveiled a shoe that tracks and analyses running metrics and even recommends workout intensity based on how ready your body is, making picking the correct workout so much easier. Polar initially just produced smart watches, but now they have unveiled their Team Pro Sport shirt for professional athletes, which capture heart rate and motion tracking data. A new company, Xenoma, has also unveiled a shirt: with 14 strain sensors that can track motion, breathing, pressure and body temperature.
Australia Leads The Way
Luckily for Australians, acquiring fitness gadgets is pretty easy, as Australia leads the way in terms of sports technology. In fact, some would call Australia the birthplace of sports science in general. This is often attributed to the Australian Institute of Sport, which Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser set up in 1976 after Australia failed to win a gold medal at the Montreal Olympics. The sports-science perspective adopted by the AIS was unique at the time, making Australia ahead of the game when it comes to a sports science and technology. In professional sports, wearable technology can help keep the team’s training on track and keep coaches aware of exactly how their players are doing, which helps maximise performance and minimise injury. It can also let clubs and coaches know when players are slacking off.
But it’s not just for professionals: fitness devices can help anyone keep track of their performance and progress, helping you get the most out of your workout. It’s not necessary, but it is another way to keep that motivation going.