Yesterday James wrote about his recent experiences using a large 5.2 pound laptop and how that made him realize that mobile technology has turned him into a wimp. I wanted to offer another view of mobile technology and describe how my mobile gear has helped me become stronger, faster, and healthier.
I can relate to the feelings James expressed when it comes to carrying a gear bag full of gadgets and gizmos and in the past I regularly hauled around 10-20 pounds of laptops, tablets, phones, battery packs, and more. I have since moved to a minimalist commute with my Surface Pro and three or four phones packed into a small WaterField Designs Muzetto Outback messenger bag. It doesn't really bother me to carry more in a larger bag, but I found I was mainly just hauling gear I wasn't really using and like my new essentials approach.
So how is mobile technology helping me get stronger, faster, and healthier? I have tested and written about many life-tracking tools over the past couple of years and have now settled into using the excellent Jawbone UP band that continues to innovate and integrate into my life. Life-tracking tools like the UP, Fuelband, and Fitbit are great for providing some motivation to take the stairs instead of the elevator, walk a bit more to achieve the next level, go to bed a bit earlier to meet you minimum goals, and act as the conscious you need to be just a bit healthier with your daily life.
For serious exercise, nothing beats the MOTOACTV for exercise tracking, sharing captured data with your preferred services, and music playing to help you give just a bit more effort. I may soon be replacing my MOTOACTV with one of the upcoming TomTom sports watches or maybe even an updated MOTOACTV.
Sometimes I run with my smartphone and even enable live services through RunKeeper where my progress is shared with my Twitter and/or Facebook friends as I am out on the road. I find motivational comments from friends to really help keep me going at times and am still blown away that people can "virtually" join me as I participate in activities.
There are also a growing number of excellent health-related applications for smartphones. Samsung even integrated some functionality in the Galaxy S4 with its S Health application. I find the programs related to pushups, pull-ups, and sit-ups to be very helpful at improving my strength and will be using the pull-ups one soon as I train to compete in my second 12+ mile Tough Mudder event. Your smartphone can serve as an excellent coach and help you achieve your fitness goals.
Tracking your diet is also easier now and since many of us always have a smartphone with us we can capture what we eat immediately and upload that data to numerous food tracking sites. I find it revealing when I am diligent about tracking my meals and snacks and think we can all live healthier lives if we pay attention to what we are consuming.
I could have gotten healthier without this mobile hardware and software, but in the past when I tried that it was very difficult to maintain my enthusiasm, track goal progress, and view results that lead to even more motivation. Mobile technology makes these monitoring, tracking, and incremental program progress easy and fun.
A couple years ago I though running three to four miles at an average pace of 10 minutes per mile was great. Through the help of mobile technology I am now able to run 10-12 miles as I train for my second half-marathon coming up in two weeks. If you told me back then that I would go out and run for two hours straight I would have told you that is just crazy. Now it is a normal part of my training routine and I owe a lot of that success to my mobile gear.
Related ZDNet mobile health articles
- Capability and ease of use earned MOTOACTV a place on my wrist (review & gallery)
- Life-tracking tools for a better, healthier you: Fuelband, Fitbit, UP compared
- Jawbone UP: new internals and attractive mobile app provide stylish life tracking (review)
- Jawbone announces the UP Platform and acquires BodyMedia
- TomTom announces new GPS sport watches free from Nike ecosystem