Wearable fitness trackers can help people set goals and see if they are meeting them. (iStock)

Technology can help people get more active


Technology has lured Canadians into spending more time sitting in front of screens, but it can also offer great tools to help people become more active.

There are wearables that can be used to set goals and measure activity, apps you can download on your phone to remind you to move and connect with other people, and videos which you can use at home if you don’t want to go to the gym.

Activity levels decreasing in Canada and world

“For…decades, we’ve been seeing a downward trend in how active Canadians are, and that’s not just Canadian adults. We’re seeing it starting as young as…infants, toddlers and preschoolers. And unfortunately, activity levels tend to decrease with age,” says Leigh Vanderloo, exercise scientist with PartiACTION, a non-profit which promotes physical fitness.

ParticipACTION says it’s important to choose a workout video for one’s particular level of fitness and one that is led by a certified trainer. (iStock)

Going for a walk is good too

She says it’s important to choose technology that fits the individual. Some are designed for high-end athletes, others for beginners and everyone in between. Vanderloo cautions that not every option is good.  One way to choose a trainer, for example, is to see if he or she has been certified by the Canadian Society of Exercise Physiology or the U.S. equivalent, ACE.

ParticipACTION has its own program for beginners. And she says anyone can start with something as simple as going for a 15-walk a day, and then make it longer, faster and perhaps include steps or inclines.

Try different things, advises scientist

It’s good to try different things and see what works for the individual. And Vanderloo says it’s fine for there to be ups and downs, but the goal to elicit behavioural changes over time that increase activity and decrease time spent sitting.

This, she adds, is good for physical health and averting cancers, cardiovascular disease and diabetes. It can build stronger bones, improve sleep, energy and focus. But it can also improve resilience and help stave off anxiety and depression.

ParticipACTION’s Leigh Vanderloo offers advice on choosing technology to help one become more active.


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