Wearable Tech World Feature Article
May 20, 2013

Wearable Technology Can Determine if You're Getting Enough Exercise

You know what the doctor tells you: eat right, and get enough exercise. We have busy lives, so sometimes we think engaging in our daily run-around is enough, with maybe a jog on the weekends. We think: any exercise is better than none, right?

Right in theory, maybe, but the message is dangerous. The New York Times examined Americans’ exercise habits last year and found that the public health message about exercise is that any amount is good and that walking is a perfectly acceptable form of exercise for healthy adults.

“Everyone has been told, repeatedly, that regular exercise improves health and makes people feel better, happier, more energetic. Nearly all Americans say they have heard those messages. They know that exercise is good for them and that they should do it,” according to the Times.

But most of us still aren’t moving enough: in fact, 40 percent of Americans report never exercising at all. Thanks to obesity, poor eating, not enough exercise and other complex issues such a lack of affordable healthcare, today’s adult Americans may be the first generations that actually see a decline in their life expectancies.

For those Americans who are getting some exercise, how do you know when it’s enough?

This is an area where wearable technology can take us far. Misfit Wearables will shortly debut a tiny personal activity tracker called the Shine that was designed to be worn on the clothing. It can let you know how much you are moving … and how much more moving you might need to do. To track your activity for the day, you remove the tiny, smooth metal disc and place it on top of your iPhone. The device than synchronizes with the accompanying app to track your information. (Currently only available with iOS.)

In a YouTube video, Sonny Vu, Misfit Wearables’ CEO, said, “After studying how people use their activity trackers, we noticed the main use: making sure you reach your daily activity goal. With the Shine, you check your progress by tapping the surface. The LED lights display how close you are to achieving your goals, answering the question, ‘Are you moving enough?’”

The device, which is waterproof and small enough that it can fit on even a bathing suit, measures bicycle pedaling, swimming strokes, steps and any other type of physical movement.

While wearable technology has a number of applications in a variety of markets, the health and fitness arena is where it’s really making a splash thus far. Devices that monitor pulse, skin temperature and other vital signs are popping up on athletes hoping to boost performance and individuals who require constant monitoring, such as heart patients.

The growth potential is enormous: analyst group IMS Research estimates that 14 million wearable technology devices were shipped in 2011; by 2016, wearable technology will represent a minimum revenue opportunity of $6 billion. While current wearable devices are focused around the healthcare and fitness industries, the potential for wearable technology in social media, communications and security is very high.

In the meantime, are you getting enough exercise?

Edited by Rory J. Thompson

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