Technology

Niall Mulrine

Technology: Overshare our fitness regime online

Niall Mulrine

Niall Mulrine

OVER the past few years, we have seen a spike in people getting into losing weight, getting fit, joining social fitness and many forms of exercise. This is a positive change in lifestyle for all people and the effects can be seen in people’s energy, attitudes and mental wellbeing too. There is no excuse this weather with the nice long evenings and warm temperatures to get out and embrace the great outdoors.

Drive through any town from 6am to 11pm on a given day, we are sure to spot a runner, walker or cyclist on the roads. There may have been a time when someone was seen out at 530am with shorts on them was labelled “mad”, but now it’s the norm. I remember being at a wedding last year and a few of the family members would have been the people looking for more drink at 2am to keep the party going, actually get up from there table and go home!! What happened these people that propped the bar to all hours, to now holding a pint of water and wanting to get to bed early? TRAINING!! The major term of all people getting fit is “training” and they maybe training for their first 5km run/walk, their first cycle sportive, a fun mud run, an endurance event or a World championship event. It makes no difference the event, the main goal is to succeed in their challenge.

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Social media comments spurs us on to train harder
No matter what the challenge is, people need to train and make preparations in their life to accommodate the gradual increase in fitness, speed and endurance. This does not come overnight and anyone that has fitness goals, knows just how much effort and motivation is needed. Time is a major factor in fitting in a training session to a daily busy life. People have family, work, organisations, charity work, committees, etc. to attend to during a week and trying to fit in a group training session maybe quiet difficult. WE all know training with other people helps get us be motivated and pushes us out times where we would rather put feet up. So what happens to people that have only free time when others are busy? They need to train solo, but getting motivated is difficult. So, people set mini challenges and try to accomplish them. Tracking their progress is important to keep motivation at a high. When people review how fast or far they could cycle or walk a few months previous compared to the present, they get a real sense of achievement. What do we like when we feel proud of ourselves? We like others to comment on it and give us a slap of the back to drive us further. Validity from others on how we perform has become a necessary need in our lives.

Completing a 5km is not complete unless my photo is on Facebook
This has become the norm since the introduction of social media. We are posting pictures of happy times in our lives, comments on how low we may feel on certain days, how people may of wronged us, have opinions on what is happening locally or globally and just putting our 10cent in on any matter. Why? Validity from others perhaps; and the sharing of our training programs and achievements can be seen on social media for others to comment on us. Do we need all these people to validate how well we have completed an event? Example, any 5km run that occurs now is not complete without hundreds of photos of people taking part posted on Facebook. Oddly enough, people like to be seen having sweat dripping over their faces, hair messed, makeup running, wearing the latest lycra, tongue hanging out of mouth all over Facebook. In the past, people who detest photos of when they are not looking their best!!

Apps to record training
There are many smartphone Apps that can be installed on to our phones to record our training activities and set goals to achieve. Couch to 5Km is a popular App for people basically getting into some type of fitness in their life and hope to run a 5km. Whilst some apps are for personal use, others are for uploading online and sharing all over social media to our friends and to non-friends too. Apps such as Nike+, Garmin, FitnessPal, Strava, Edmondo and many more are available for Android and iOS devices. When the person has completed their activity, they can upload to the cloud for backup purpose and also to review from other devices. The bonus add-on with most Apps is that all activities can be shared on Facebook, Twitter etc. Other people in their networks can now see how much training their mates are really taking part in. As I said this can have positive outcomes for the trainee. But there are adverse outcomes also from all the online sharing?

Apps can show my home location
With GPS enabled on the smartphone that is tracking the exercise activity, it must have a starting point and a finish point. For some people viewing this, they can learn where people live, socialise and holiday. By adding these locations to Google maps the routes and locations can be easily found and maybe with street view available, the pictures of the person’s home is available online for the world to see. Think on consequences for young children uploading such data to a public place like Facebook? Ah, but they may say “it’s only my friends can see it”. True to a sense, but remember there is no such thing as “friends only” when something is posted online. It can be shared, reposted, copied and pasted to other sites or pages. Once online there is no return. People on holidays post photos of their swimming pool, hotels etc. are telling people at home, that the house is empty and take what you want!! Same thing applies with the posting of activities. With knowledge that the person is training away from home, will tell us that their house is possibly empty. All the data that goes online from these apps can paint a picture of a person and their habits. Just who much do we really want share?

Contact Niall Mulrine

If you would like a workshop for a parents association, workplace conference, sports centre talk and many other venues, please contact me on 086-2377033
For more information & tips on Cyber Bullying & Internet Safety log on to www.CyberSafetyAdvice.com or contact Niall Mulrine 086-2377033 if you wish to hear how you can haven Internet Safety workshop in your area.

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