Thursday, 19 March 2015


In my previous post I reported how a simple technological innovation – a smartphone app with an attitude – is helping me take control over my diet. In this post I would like to do the same with regards to the other side of the same equation, exercise.
I have two problems with exercising. First, I don’t have time for it. Or rather, it is very hard for me to prioritise exercise above other activities. And second, exercising sucks while so many other things don't. I do, however, recognise the importance of being earnest about exercising.
Science came to my aid recently, determining that even brief exercise can do wonders to a human being if it’s done regularly (as in, every day or almost every day) and if it is done to a level that takes one’s breath out. Enter the new concept of “the 7 minute exercise” into our lives.
One of the beauties of this new concept is that it is easy to automate. I already covered how the gamification of exercise can help, but now this gamification is potentially in our pockets. Smartphone users can already enjoy multiple apps that will guide them through this daily ritual, and me, I am here to report that it works! Granted, the 7 minute exercise regime won’t get me ready to run a marathon any time soon. It does, however, make me feel much better than the alternative does. The two advantages the concept offers, the ease of fitting into one’s schedule (7 minutes) and the ease of management (smartphone app) make for a highly effective exercise regime. And no, one does not need special equipment for these exercises.
It goes without saying that the potential for smartphone usage in the field of exercising goes much further. There is nothing preventing people from using the same apps to run longer exercises. There are even apps out there with detailed personal training videos that allow users to tailor design their own exercise regime and enjoy the benefit of not having an ultra fit trainer giving them the evil eye whenever they’re unable to drive their fatty ass towards a simple push up (speaks the voice of experience). Plus there are no recurring gym fees.
I will add my regular caveat that you might not want these smartphone apps to call home to its makers and the data brokers paying the makers with all your exercising data. I will note, though, that in this particular case it should be fairly easy to disable the apps’ ability to call home without losing core training functionality. As long as you do not mind losing the ability to benefit from server side benefits (it can be hard to think of those in the context of exercise) you should be fine.
Once again we see how simple technological innovation, aided by science, can clearly make a difference to our lives. That is, if one can find seven minutes to spare.

Image by Irish Typepad, Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) licence

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