May 4, 2018
This blog is the last of a five-part series that looks at the impact of the Internet of Things (IoT) on society.
Experts say that an Olympic gold medal begins with good genes. That remains true, but today’s technology for fitness monitoring and integrated applications are a great help to push that extra mile, gain that extra second or lose that extra pound.
The IoT can have a big impact for sports and health — particularly
for professional athletes. Let’s take a closer look at a day in the
life of a professional cyclist and the IoT applications that support her
today. (She also happens to be the daughter of our author!)
The first thing in the morning, at the instant the athlete opens her eyes, she will tap her Fitbit and measure her pulse at rest rate. Great cyclists generally have an extraordinary heart capacity, and a lower heart rate at rest typically implies more efficient heart function and better cardiovascular fitness. It can also indicate if the athlete has any infections or circulatory problems.
Author's daughter, Alicia Franck, a professional cyclist in Europe
This morning, our athlete has a very low 37 bpm (beats per minute): all clear for a good training day.
She starts off with a well-balanced breakfast of granola, fruit and yogurt for a total of 550 kcal. She enters the food and its weight in a food calculator app and shares it via the IoT with the nutritionist who’s a part of her athletic support team.
The nutritionist then optimizes our athlete’s food intake for the
required output, based on three types of days: training, racing or rest. And
indeed, less weight on the bike equals less resistance and better results, so
continuous monitoring and follow-up are key.
Before our cyclist ever gets on her bike for the day’s training ride, the cyclist’s support team has previously analyzed both her equipment and her fitness levels to maximize every possible variable:
All this real-time information shapes the cyclist’s individual
training plan so that she can focus on what’s most important: her
Our cyclist undergoing wind tunnel tests
When it’s time to start her training session, our cyclist will put on her training clothes, shoes and helmet. But her equipment is optimized by technology and the IoT:
But the cyclist isn’t alone on her ride — her support team can monitor it in real time using the IoT. The trainer can follow the cyclist with the GPS tracker as training sessions are automatically shared as live streams. The trainer checks heart rates, speed, power — and discipline. Nothing goes unnoticed, and skipping a training becomes very visible.
Alicia Franck, a professional cyclist in Europe
In the past, trainers only looked at average speed during training sessions. Today, they look at distance and speed, power output and explosivity, velocity, resistance or help from tail- or headwind, and many other variables (like weather) — which can all influence the result of a training session.
Athletes today have access to a plethora of technology, tools, instruments and applications to measure performance and progress and share it with their support and training team:
The team analyzes all gathered data to further optimize the most precious instrument the cyclist has: her body.
No one is born to be a world-record holder. People are born with certain abilities and talents, but they must work with those abilities to become the best. When technology kicks in to optimize an athlete’s performance and bicycle, in close collaboration with the supporting medical and care team, the IoT has a nice growth path in sports.
And for the rest of us who aren’t professional athletes, connected IoT devices and applications can still bring the same benefits. We can use different apps and wearable devices like a Fitbit or Apple Watch to track our own fitness, monitor progress toward goals, share our achievements and stay motivated, as well as convey information to health care providers. At its heart, the IoT can bring more information and more data for sports and health — no matter your fitness level.
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