During the coronavirus pandemic, digital fitness platforms saw a surge in popularity. These include streaming services that offer live or recorded exercise classes. Physiotherapists can encourage patients to use these digital platforms to improve physical activity.
Studies have found that adherence to mHealth-based PA programs is higher when these tools are used. However, few studies take into account the individual needs of patients.
Sport training aids
A variety of digital solutions can be used for sport training. These range from fitness trackers and apps that promote friendly competition, to smart fabrics and sensor technology that monitor physiological responses. These systems are integrated into the clothing or sportswear and can measure heart rate, breathing and exercise energy expenditure.
In addition to these tools, there are many sports-specific training aids that can help athletes train for specific skills. For example, a weighted training aid can help strengthen the arms of baseball players. Other training aids include weighted jump ropes and handled medicine balls. Some of these training aids can also be used in multiple sports, such as football and hockey.
In general, research examining the use of digital technologies for physical activity has focused on increasing motivation and attitudes. These studies have been carried out using different types of digital media, including exergames and audio augmentation. They have found that these technologies can positively influence students’ perceptions of their learning progress.
A fitness tracker, also known as an activity tracker or wearable is a type of computer that monitors your physical activity. These gadgets can help you reach your workout goals by tracking key metrics such as steps, heart rate and calorie consumption.
Many different fitness trackers exist, from simple, band-style models to smartwatches that offer a plethora of features. Choosing the right device for you depends on your specific needs and budget. For example, if you’re looking for a device that focuses on sports activities like running or cycling, a fitness tracker with GPS may be a good choice.
Physiotherapists can encourage their patients to use fitness trackers and smartphone applications to stimulate a more active lifestyle. They can help them develop a plan that specifies exercise types and aims, considers safety issues and outlines monitoring and follow-up options.
Interactive video games
Video games are a fun way to get kids moving. Incorporating video games into a physical activity program increases kids’ enjoyment of the game and improves their balance. However, it is important to note that there are some limits to the effectiveness of video games for increasing physical activity in children.
Foot-based interactive gaming systems, such as the Activate Gaming Console and the FootPOWR, provide players with the opportunity to play video games that require movement of feet. The input for these systems is generated by a computer, which can be any software application, allowing players to engage in activities that encourage and require physical activity.
Controlled studies have shown that active video games increase capacities in relation to PA and education. Future investigation should focus on the incorporation of virtual games that involve total immersion and offer a variety of options to increase daily physical activity. In addition, research on long-term adherence to IVGs should be carried out.
Smart fabrics and sensor technology
Over the past couple of decades, wearable technology has gone from a gimmick straight out of science fiction to a practical and reliable tool for fitness, healthcare, and worker safety. Now, smart fabric technology has emerged that may be a game changer for these applications and beyond.
These fabrics, also known as electronic textiles, e-textiles, or smart garments, are woven with an embedded digital component. This can be a battery, LED, or a sensor. Sensors can monitor movement or physiology, and can be resistive or capacitive. They can be screen printed, sewn, knitted or layered into the fabric.
Researchers have been working on fabric sensors for some time now. For example, MIT has developed a technique to integrate plastic yarn and pressure sensors into flexible fabric that conforms to the body to measure posture and motion. This can help in preventing injuries, such as from falls. It can also help with exercise, by allowing a person to track their progress on a device or send real-time data to coaches or doctors.