Getting fit with new technology

Destanie Martin-Johnson

As a college student, it’s easy to get caught up in stress from classes, exams and homework. It’s also easy to develop unhealthy eating, fitness and sleeping habits as a result of this stress.

However, the technology that most students have in their pockets right now could help solve those problems.

A study from the University of South Carolina examined how a Twitter community can help people exercise more efficiently. Twitter users connected with others who had similar plans to lose weight or develop healthy exercise habits. Users then shared positive tweets encouraging each other to continue their fitness programs. Following experts, bloggers or programs that tweet daily fitness plans and healthy diet recipes also proved to be helpful.

The study randomly selected 96 obese adults and divided them into two groups. One group listened to podcasts about health and fitness twice a week for six months. Another group listened to the same podcasts, recorded any physical activity and connected with other dieters on Twitter. The participants who used Twitter lost more weight than those in the other group.

Technology companies like Apple are starting to focus on health as well. The Apple Watch, coming in 2015, has new health-focused features such as a pedometer app. You can also use it to create a fitness goal. For example, you can type in how many calories you want to burn, and the watch will notify you when you are close to reaching that goal. A similar app can easily be downloaded for free on an iPhone.

Although the increase in the use of technology and rise of social media in the 21st century can easily make us all lazier, we can also use digital media to our advantage.