• Fitness

    By Kerrie Berends, PhD
    Academic Department Chair 

    What is the difference between a fad and a trend?

    A fad is defined as “a temporary fashion, notion, manner of conduct, etc., especially one followed enthusiastically by a group” and a trend as “the general course or prevailing tendency; drift.” After numerous years and increased use, it’s probably safe to say that wearable technology (WT) is here to stay and use is on the rise. According to a study by PwC, 45% of respondents who owned a WT device used it for fitness tracking, while 24% used it as a smart watch. There are ample ways for students to motivate, track, and report health and fitness goals and performance.

    Why would students want to tap into the wearable technology trend?

    Online and hybrid education is still going strong which means that students in these programs are possibly sitting down more than ever—attending classes and completing homework from their homes and worksites, as opposed to walking to class. “Scientists think that too much sitting impairs the body’s ability to deposit fat from the blood stream into the body. These constantly elevated blood fats are a risk factor for cardiovascular disease” (ACSM, 2011).

    Wearable fitness gadgets are often programmed to alert an individual when he or she has been “inactive” for an extended period of time, generally measured in hours. Periodically moving throughout the day has been shown to be beneficial, even if the individual does not exercise in a formal manner. “Studies regarding sedentary behavior are showing that potentially the most important factor for health is the activity we do during the 15 to 16 hours of the day that we are not sleeping (assuming 8 hours of sleep) or exercising (assuming 30 to 60 minutes)” (Swank, 2015). Ideally, students—and other individuals—should move throughout the day in addition to achieving the recommended 30 minutes of moderate physical activity.

    What hints or tips are useful for online students when it comes to wearable technology for health and fitness?

    • The first suggestion is to wear it! It may sound simple but forgetting to put the device on in the morning makes it more than difficult to reap the benefits.
    • Charge it. Most devices require charging every 1 to 3 days depending on the brand and model. Setting a schedule to recharge is recommended.
    •  Join a community. Many devices such as FitBit® allow you to have “friends” and invite friends to challenges, from daily goals to total weekly steps.
    • Sync your device (if applicable) to check your progress periodically throughout the day. Some devices will automatically remind you it’s time to get up and move.
    • Use WT to set and reach health and fitness goals. Start with goals which are “doable” and increase your personal requirements as you get more fit. Most devices will track progress for you and produce daily, weekly, or monthly statistics.

    Whether students tap into wearable technology or not, it is still recommended that individuals get and stay active for good health. WT certainly is not for everyone but should be considered a helpful tool if additional motivation is needed.


    ACSM (2011). Reducing Sedentary Behaviors: Sitting Less and Moving More. Retrieved from https://www.acsm.org/docs/brochures/reducing-sedentary-behaviors-sitting-less-and-moving-more.pdf).

    Dictionary.com (n.d.). Retrieved August 29, 2016 from http://www.dictionary.com.

    Price Waterhouse Cooper. The Wearable Life 2.0 Connected living in a wearable world. Retrieved from http://www.pwc.com/us/en/industry/entertainment-media/publications/consumer-intelligence-series/wearables.html

    Swank, A. (2015). A First Step to Health: Just Stand Up and Move: Could Improving Your Health Really Be This Easy? ACSM’s Health and Fitness Journal, 19(6), pp. 34-36.

    Kerrie Berends, Ph,D, is an academic department chair at Kaplan University. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not represent the view of Kaplan University.

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