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Technology can help you get fit but you still have to put in the work

Although no one has yet invented a phone application that will curb your appetite, make you a healthy dinner, or exercise your body while you sit on the couch watching television, there are many new technologies around that can help you get fit and stay in shape.

New equipment, applications and gadgets make it easier to count calories, track fitness goals, design a workout routine, or stick to your diet. You still have to put in the work to get and stay fit, but technology can help.

According to several websites there are now over 300,000 smartphone applications. Smartphone apps can help you plot a new jogging course, and set and track fitness goals.

They can even design a custom fitness routine complete with workout videos, a personalized music track, and a graph of all the calories you have burned. You can now use your phone to count calories, plan menus and track weight loss. You can also arrange to have motivational fitness or diet messages sent to your phone to inspire you and keep you going. Many fitness phone apps are free or low-cost and can supplement or enhance your normal fitness routine.

Another easy way to help get motivated to keep in shape is to use a step counter. Simple mechanical pedometers count steps or provide information about the distance you’ve travelled. The newest innovations in pedometers go further, computing calories burned, resting metabolism, body temperature and other functions. You can view graphs that tell you how many miles you need to run to burn off those two chocolate chip cookies you had with lunch, or whether you need to step up your weight lifting workout to increase your fitness.

With names such as Fit Bit and Body Bug, these high-tech pedometers are designed to be worn 24 hours a day. Many require a monthly subscription to take full advantage of all they offer.

Putting an aerobics video into the VCR is no longer the only option for doing an exercise program at home. There are now many different types of video exercise systems that combine the fun of a video game with exercise.

Choose from bowling, yoga, tai chi, dancing, boxing or aerobics for a challenging workout. Many programs will correct your technique, allow you to change your workout routine often to keep from getting bored, and track your progress to keep you motivated to keep going.

One final way to help get motivated to get in shape is to find some like-minded individuals online. Instead of driving to a local support group, log in to online groups instead. Get recipes, exchange stories and inspiration with other members, log your daily calorie and exercise goals and record your progress - all without leaving the comfort of your home.

Some programs require a monthly membership fee, but other programs are free to join. Having the support of other people trying to achieve the same goals always makes it easier to keep going.

Traditional exercise is still just as effective as it has always been. New technology just makes it a more manageable and fun!

 

Ben Chatterson is a physiotherapist at Rehabilitation in Motion which has four Island locations including two in Campbell River: Willow Point, 923-3773; Quinsam (across from SaveOn Foods), 286-9670; Comox Valley, 334-9670; Port Alberni; 723-9675. Ben Chatterson works at the Comox Valley Clinic. Visit www.rehabinmotion.com

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