The coronavirus pandemic forced millions of Americans to work from home, many of whom will maintain the arrangement permanently. While this shift has had positive implications, like slowing the spread of the virus and reducing corporate operating costs, it also came with an unintended consequence.
Working from home provides even fewer opportunities to walk during the day than working in the office. This is especially true for people whose jobs require them to sit at a desk eight or more hours each day.
Rather than allowing the obesity epidemic to continue unchecked, the government and several innovative businesses are creating technology that encourages people to walk further and more often.
Urban Design Encourages Dependency on Cars
With personal vehicles being the primary mode of transportation for the past 100 years, city planners responded by creating sprawling developments that require people to use public or private transportation to access them. Some are now beginning to rethink these designs for the sake of public and environmental health.
Applications such as RideScout, Transit Screen, Walkonomics, and Walkscore provide pedestrians with the in-depth information they need to plan their walking routes. The gadgets have emerged in response to demand from people of all ages for data-rich applications that makes it easier for them to incorporate walking into their day.
The apps determine route length, how pedestrian-friendly it is, and how many calories the user burns by walking to a destination, among several other features. Additionally, residents and tourists in major cities today can find a growing number of self-guided walking tours online for almost any neighborhood.
These new developments present city planners with the incentive to make areas more walker-friendly. At the same time, they need to encourage walkers not to become so enmeshed in their mobile device that they fail to remain aware of their surroundings. Wearable devices can be an ideal solution to this dilemma.
Wearable Devices to Track Calorie Burn
People who walk, jog, or run for exercise often want to know how many calories they are burning in the process. Unfortunately, currently available devices can provide inaccurate information. According to a 2017 study conducted by Stanford University, the data produced by smartwatches regarding calorie burn is wrong 40 to 80 percent of the time. Could a recently released leg wearable be the antidote to this problem?
The device requires people to wear a monitor on their shank and thigh. A microcontroller on the hip measures how fast wearers rotate their legs along with their forward acceleration. Two engineers recently tested the device against smartwatches and determined that the new wearable leg device has an error rate of just 13 percent.
Safety and Tracking Gadgets for Hikers
Hiking through the woods or up a mountain is a different experience from going for a walk in the neighborhood. The first thing hikers should equip themselves with is a GPS smartwatch that provides real-time directions. The most advanced smartwatches for hikers offer options to turn off notifications that can be distracting and listen to soothing music instead. They also come equipped with a range of metrics, such as heart rate, steps, and calorie burn.
A rechargeable headlamp is a must for hikers who plan to be out after dark. Wearing illumination on their heads keeps their hands free and prevents them from possibly dropping and losing a flashlight.
Walking is a simple way to stay in shape while preventing pollution caused by personal vehicles. These new devices make putting one foot in front of the other even easier.