Do you train with a device that tells you how many steps you’ve taken or how many calories you’ve burned?
And, if you don’t take a selfie at the gym, did that workout even happen?
It seems that good old-fashioned exercise, like going for a run and knowing when you’ve achieved your goal by listening to your body, is quickly becoming a thing of the past.
Is this a good thing? Well, yes and no.
Firstly, any exercise is good for you. Therefore any device that encourages you to get into the gym, or go for that run, is a good thing.
Larry Rosen, a Professor and research psychologist at California State University, says that although workout technology can be valuable, there’s also a downside.
‘If you’re constantly checking your stats on your device then that’s going to create anxiety,’ says Rosen, ‘exercise is supposed to produce endorphins and dopamine – chemicals that make you feel good, not anxiety neurotransmitters like cortisol.’
Exercise apps are also a concern for Jo Zimmerman, a trainer and instructor of kinesiology at the University of Maryland.
‘Exercise technology is a double-edged sword – for some, it’s the reason they get off the couch. For others it makes them too competitive and veils their real physical limitations,’says Zimmerman.
In this world of tech hyper-connectivity, the gym – especially group training – gives people the chance to move, really breathe, and interact for maybe the only time that day. People crave that contact; people need that social connection.
Yes, technology can play a part, but fitness is about more than just athletic results. It’s also a stress release, a social event, a bit of ‘you’ time and for some, a break from technology.
And in case you’re wondering, the gym selfie is totally harmless. So go for it.