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Trending apps for hobby athletes: electronic aids for sports
More and more people use technical and electronic aids such as smartphones, apps and gadgets when doing sports. While these can be helpful as helpers and instructors, it is more important to listen to your own body.
Many good reasons People use the possibilities offered by the world of smartphones, apps or gadgets for various reasons. Some use a pedometer to determine their daily mileage, others enter their food and drink precisely on their smartphone to calculate the calorie intake. And some apps can help hobby athletes by measuring their heart rate while running using a heart rate monitor. The founder of the German Quantified Self Community, Florian Schumacher, says about the reasons for using these means: "The recording of values about oneself serves many to observe changes or as motivation to achieve goals that have been set."
Collected data exert fascination The quantified self-community is a network of users and software providers with whose help they evaluate their personal data in order to promote and monitor their personal development and health. In the United States, 70 percent of the population would already monitor their health in the manner described above. "The situation in Germany is likely to be similar, although it is not spoken about so openly," said Schumacher. Sports psychologist Dr. Christopher Willis, who coordinates sports and exercise programs for recreational athletes, for example, sees great benefits in modern aids: “You can offer him structure and support. The data collected has a positive fascination of its own right from the start. ”When coaching beginners, he specifically uses apps. "We see increased motivation, more fun and increased stamina," said Willis. Thus, the users would develop more realistic goals.
App does not replace your own motivation Dr. Urs-Vito Albrecht from the Peter L. Reichertz Institute for Medical Informatics at the Technical University of Braunschweig and the Medical University of Hanover, on the other hand, commented critically in an interview with "Die Welt": "An app can never replace your own motivation." He agreed that such programs could help to achieve goals that were set, to make progress and successes visible and to fulfill a training plan. He sees negative: "Of course, all training failures are mercilessly documented, which can do exactly the opposite."
People compare themselves One advantage of the data collected is that it is processed. For example, your own performance could be compared with that of other users, or you could view average values of the same age group or training level using certain apps and analyze your own performance. "People tend to compare themselves," says Albrecht. The comparison with his own age group or similarly trained people is the more suitable comparison for him and not that between a beginner and a long-standing athlete. "In general, however, such comparisons are difficult because standardized algorithms can never assess the individual peculiarities of the individual." In this way, faulty algorithms could present the user with incorrect results. The user would then either be unjustly pleased or would be annoyed with "negative" results. "In one case as in the other, he may refrain from or take actions that he would not have done if the results had been correct."
Tips and invitations from the Internet Tips and invitations, mostly for a more playful competition, are distributed from the large Internet community via many apps. For example, you can create virtual running groups in some smartphone applications or users can announce their training routes, including route, height differences or level of difficulty. Dr. Willis says: “These platforms in particular offer valuable social support that many people would not have in their everyday life and everyday social environment.” However, such messages often get out of hand and annoying on social networks. "Some flirt with it and want to force a positive reaction," says Oliver Stoll from the Working Group for Sports Psychology.
Complete training sessions without technical support Even though 560,000 people in Germany are addicted to the Internet, according to a current study funded by the Federal Ministry of Health, there is as yet no published study dealing with the possible addiction of measuring. Dr. sees this danger Willis for very little anyway. However, he warns: "As soon as excessive employment negatively affects one's psychological well-being, danger is in default." Despite all the technical training equipment, beginners would have to learn to perceive their bodies without the aids. He recommends recreational athletes that they should regularly complete training sessions without technical support. On this point, Dr. Albrecht zu: "You can only recommend users to consider fitness apps as little helpers and guides and always listen to the signals of your own body."
Study on the effects of electronic media on the sick The electronic media are also receiving more attention in the medical field. For example, Petra Wagner from the Institute for Health Sports and Public Health at the University of Leipzig is investigating its effects on people with health problems. For this purpose, 60 adolescents who were in a rehabilitation clinic because of their obesity were asked about the topic. It is of interest to the study how the behavior of young people, their knowledge and attitudes are changing with the help of the new media. Social networks help young patients to stay in contact with each other and with the clinic even after their stay.
Instructions with sports exercises Most would only be motivated to do more exercise as long as they stick to a support program that supports them with podcasts and other formats. This media, developed by Petra Wagner and her colleagues, contains, for example, practical instructions with sports exercises. In addition, the young people could use it to upload and download their data in a protected framework for evaluation by experts. This research is still young, but clinics are already following the work of the institute because there is interest in concepts for aftercare. (ad)
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