A week into the new year, many college students are struggling to hold on to one of the most universal resolutions — getting in shape.
Some of them are turning to fitness technology to supplement their traditional workout regimens, whether it’s a smart watch that tracks daily activities or running shoes that count steps.
“Staying fit keeps me in line. If you don’t stay healthy, the amount of stress you build up from studying all night can really affect you,” said David Cervantes-Rivera, a senior at the University of Texas at Austin.
Cervantes-Rivera uses the Nike+ Sportwatch GPS, which can track distance, pace, time and calories burned. The GPS capabilities of the device also allow a user to chart routes on a map and share run activity on Facebook or Twitter.
He said he uses the device primarily for motivation during his workouts.
“As you see your history and records on the watch, you just kind of want to beat them,” Cervantes-Rivera said. “I use it to motivate me to get out there and run.”
The HAPIfork is seen on display at the CES 2013 tech conference Jan. 8 in Las Vegas. The fork vibrates and lights up to help its user slow down to a healthy eating pace.
Using technology to maintain healthy habits is not only limited to workout gear. A new “smart fork” was introduced at the CES 2013 technology conference in Las Vegas earlier this week, USA TODAY reported.
The HAPIfork is a device that monitors eating habits by keeping track of how long a person takes to finish a meal. If they begin to eat too fast, the fork will vibrate and warn them to slow down. This information can then be uploaded by Bluetooth or USB to an online dashboard.
“HAPIfork is particularly useful in college because you are in a much more intense experience and may have to eat something fast while studying,” said Renée Blodgett, a spokesperson for HAPIfork.
The device will cost $99, Blodgett said, and comes in five different colors. iPhone and Android apps are available to keep track of the collected data.
Andrew Hatchett, associate professor of biology at Franklin Pierce University, said the greatest benefit of using fitness technology is the awareness of behaviors a user can now identify.
“Awareness is one of the first steps in any type of behavioral change. These tools teach people about the intensity of work they can do,” Hatchett said.
Hatchett regularly uses social media to engage and create a community around fitness. He said posting fitness information to social networks “breeds accountability” and is a great way to encourage others to keep their goals.
Although Hatchett sees benefits in using this technology, he said that one thing remains true: “Nothing will ever replace hard work and healthy habits.”
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