Fitness Meets the 21st Century

With computers being a mainstay in most homes and offices, fitness has finally gone high tech. The new century has introduced computerized fitness, and it appears to be the wave of the future. Take a look at what’s happening:

Online Fitness Training Services
Liz Neporent, M.Ed., board member of the American Council on Exercise and host of “Lizzy Fit” on eYada.com, says “techno-workouts” are a hot trend for 2011.

“The best online personal fitness training services assign users to an actual trainer who prescribes individualized workouts, sends reminders and provides ongoing feedback,” Neporent said. “It’s a great substitute for hiring a personal trainer because it’s inexpensive and you can travel with it.”

Some Web sites that offer this service are FitAdvisor.com, FitForAll.com, asimba.com and MyFitnessExpert.com, which is endorsed by the American College of Sports Medicine.

The Four Get Fit program on drkoop.com provides volunteers with personalized exercise and nutrition plans. A fitness expert and a nutrition expert follow their progress on a weekly basis while giving ongoing advice and encouragement.

The American Heart Association launched a Web-based personalized health management program called One of a Kind, which tailors health information to each user’s risk of heart disease and stroke.

“One of a Kind analyzes the users’ readiness to make changes, such as quitting smoking or getting more exercise, and identifies their motivations and barriers to making those changes with an online health and behavior assessment,” said Richard Pasternak, M.D., American Heart Association volunteer and director of preventive cardiology and cardiac rehabilitation at Massachusetts General Hospital.

Fitness in Your Palm
If you have a handheld palm device such as a Palm Pilot, you can now download fitness programs over the Internet. Instead of using paper and pen to record your workouts and document your fitness goals, you can carry all the data in your palm device using fitness-specific software applications such as those found online at Handango.

One of the most popular applications is Vivonic, which takes you through a thorough medical questionnaire then creates a personal fitness (exercise and nutrition) plan. It allows you to track your workouts, create records and look up fitness facts.

Computerized Cardio Fitness Equipment
More and more health clubs are wiring their Lifecycles and step machines with computerized screens that allow exercisers to watch television, surf the Internet, view videos, check e-mail or listen to CDs. “It’s not available on treadmills,” Neporent said, “because of the safety factor.” Whether the screens make it onto home exercise equipment remains to be seen.


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