The Digital Health Revolution

“People were perfectly capable of being physically fit and active long before smartphones were about.” That is what you hear from anyone who doubts the immense influence that technology has had, and is having, on how we stay fit. 

I guess the question therefore is whether or not the digital health revolution is actually helping more people to get in shape and maintain that level from there onwards. 

You see, the point isn’t that having a cool watch or a fancy app will guarantee you success. What technology does do is connect us to information. Because any two people can workout in a gym or at home with or without a smartphone. But what that smartphone can do is allow one of those people to access the information that the other one is missing out on. And that is the point. 

It doesn’t just have to be a smartphone. Digital health is present on so many other platforms too. Pedometers, smart watches, heart rate monitors, etc. – they all form a part of it! 

Think about it this way. Two people can walk 10km every single day and provided that they have wholly similar diets, they should see similar results. But how much easier is it to know how far you have walked when the thing in your pocket can tell you exactly in the time it takes you to switch it on? 

Because it isn’t just enough to have access to information. The internet has been around for years now and any of us could go on Google and find out what we want to know. This digital health revolution refers to the next step – putting that information into context and supplying us with personalised feedback. 

And the innovators out there are applying this theory to almost every aspect of health and fitness. More products are becoming available every year with the capability do exactly what I mentioned above. And if the product can’t do it alone, you can guarantee that there will be an app that helps. I’ve seen them for all sorts, stretching from MMA to yoga! 

With the growing popularity of these health-tech products comes the inevitable influx of companies wanting to have a piece of the action. So not every app is going to be helpful. But there will be those that help you manage your fitness more effectively. 

I have no doubt that there will be some of you reading this that have never used a health-tech product in your life before. And you are probably quite happy with where your fitness is at this current time. If that is the case for you then joining a revolution like this probably won’t be the right thing for you. Variety in the way you exercise is key but so is establishing routines where possible. You don’t need to change a winning formula just because the fitness world is changing itself. 

But at the same I can’t think of anyone who could use some aspect of digital health to help them somehow – whether it is something as little as mapping how far you walk everyday, to something as detailed as logging each and every item of food that you consume. 

What you are doing is collecting information and then the better apps will use this information to tell you where you are performing well and where you can afford to step it up, all based on you specifically as a person, of course. 

This cycle of recording, analysis, feedback and response should allow you to gradually make positive changes over time, rather than making drastic changes that can be detrimental to your success. 

So don’t be a technophobe and see if you can find your place in the digital health revolution! 

Ollie Lawrence
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