Aging, Flexibility, and the Apple Watch


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If you’re a fitness tech fanatic like I am, you’ve been jumping into all sorts of mobility tools out there, like The Ready State, ROMWOD, and GOWOD. There’s a new one coming, and it’s something you may already own: your Apple Watch.

Good morning and welcome to the Ben Garves Podcast - a daily show at the intersection of health, activism, and technology. I’m your host, Ben Garves.

Did you know mobility is important? It is. And we’re not just talking about doing your stretches after going for a run. We’re talking ongoing efforts to increase and maintain flexibility and mobility. Fitness trackers like FitBit have now been around for a decade, which means we’re getting to a point with our technology where it can help us track not just our current fitness, but how well we’re aging. That’s the focus on a new feature on the Apple Watch, which tracks your functional capacity as an overall indicator of health and longevity.

It’s pretty easy to wrap your head around the fact that our mobility decreases as we age, something functional fitness programs like CrossFit seek to battle by actively having you train in movements you’d encounter in your daily life. These are things like squatting as a reproduction of what it takes to sit down in and and stand up from a chair, and a burpee as the process of getting down to and standing back up from the ground. It’s simple in your 20s, but slightly less simple when you’re in your 70s.

The new software on the Apple Watch will look at your VO2 max (which is how well your body is consuming oxygen), how fast you go up and down stairs, and how far you can walk in six minutes as an indicator of how you’re doing. VO2 max and the six-minute walk test are things doctors actively test all the time, but it’s now being brought to your wrist

We’re even seeing companies use tools like fitness trackers to incentivize healthy behaviors and give discounts when you use them. It’s a cool incentive.

That wraps it up for today. Thanks for listening to the Ben Garves Podcast, at the intersection of health, activism, and technology. Don’t forget, Fitness is for Everyone™.