Does technology really help us while running?

By Sricharan R Published on Mar 29, 2017 02:44 PM IST

We see a lot of people running, jogging, walking with a tech gear strapped on them. These are becoming more natural and a common sight. Running is more of a cheap and cheerful way of getting and staying fit. Decades ago, when people took a walk they just wore a good pair of running shoes, a shorts and a tee. It was so very simple.

But we don't do any simple now. Thinking technology has made our life simple, we started gearing up with tech products.

We are in the age of the digital runner and cyclist, where we just don’t go for a run or out for a spin on the bike. We deploy GPS technology, use apps and their associated software-hosting platforms to record data and post online for a worldwide audience.

It seems that running or cycling can only be enjoyed in retrospect, once you’ve uploaded your calorie expenditure, heart rate and urine analysis data for all to see. These tracking devices have their own pros and cons.

Many athletes will plan their training and keep their records for them to improve. Monitoring power or speed helps them to track progress, set goals and even plan and execute racing strategy.

But for a common man is it really helpful?

These running apps and gadgets help users set their target. However, it makes them obsessed with them. It also sets a bad example for youngsters, who, even on their first day of jog, need a tech friend to get going. We make the error of becoming over reliant on technology.

The same can happen with GPS. At best, GPS units provide information and nothing more. They don’t make decisions, nor do they ensure that the right decision is made - that’s up to the user.

Biologists suggest that the capability for running help shape the evolution of the human body. Even though these gadgets help human being, in the future they might rule over them.

Technology can be complex yet simple to operate and understand. If used wisely. Perhaps its best application is to prevent over-training but use the stats to force you into slowing down, not speeding up.

These apps can easily become a short cut to over-train, but if you purposefully set out to achieve the opposite, you’ll be doing well. It can also help you to log training and learn.