Wellness, Fitness, and Lifestyle Sensing Applications [chapter]

Michael J. McGrath, Cliodhna Ní Scanaill
2013 Sensor Technologies  
Physical fitness is not only one of the most important keys to a healthy body; it is the basis of dynamic and creative intellectual activity. -John F. Kennedy, 35th President of the United States Chapter 9 considered how sensors are playing an increasingly important role in health-related applications, such as chronic disease management. Medically, health is sometimes described as the absence of one or more of the "five Ds": death, disease, discomfort, disability, and dissatisfaction.
more » ... ly, the focus is on determining whether disease is present and, when present, managing that condition (Edlin et al., 2000) . Wellness takes a different perspective on health. It looks at the entire person, the manner in which they live their life, and lifestyle influences on their well-being. Wellness encompasses six distinct dimensions of well-being: emotional, intellectual, spiritual, occupational, social, and physical (Hettler, 1976). Collectively, these dimensions are often referred to as the holistic model of wellness. Sensors can be applied to quantify all dimensions of wellness to a certain extent. Of these dimensions, only physical wellness is monitored by individuals in the consumer domain. This chapter focuses on physical well-being and how sensing can be used to monitor and maintain physical wellness. Positively influencing physical well-being can also have significant benefits for other aspects of well-being, such as socializing with others during physical activities and helping to reduce emotional stress. A variety of factors can influence personal wellness, including diet, exercise, poor habits, proactive self-care, and seeking medical intervention when appropriate (Edlin et al., 2014) . As such, wellness is a dynamic process that is constantly changing based on the daily decisions we make about what we eat, drink, how much exercise we do, and so on. It is easy to lose track of wellness with the demands of busy, modern lifestyles. Technology is now having a positive effect on individuals by helping them to manage their physical wellness. This trend will continue to grow in the future as sensing and supporting technologies are seamlessly integrated into our daily lives. Discrete sensors and sensors integrated into smartphones are already enabling us to monitor our activity levels, fitness, performance levels, and calorie burn/consumption through smartphone apps and web portals. In a broader context, pervasive sensing in our homes and leisure areas will provide passive monitoring on a long-term basis of our physical activities, interactions with our environment, and other physiological, cognitive, and biochemical parameters of interest without activity restriction and behavior modification. The collected data can be used to notify us of immediate risk or to identify trends in parameters that are outside of normative ranges. Sensing sleep quality, in babies and adults, is a now a common application of pervasive sensing. The consumer does not actively track their sleep in real time but they need to be alerted immediately if sleep apnea is detected. Increasingly, we share this data and information about our activities via social media with friends and family. Doing so adds context to the data and supports continued engagement in physical activities through positive social reinforcement. Monitoring, supporting, and improving wellness through the use of sensor technologies will play an increasingly positive role in maintaining health and well-being. Chapter 10 ■ Wellness, Fitness, and liFestyle sensing appliCations Public health awareness initiatives: Public health awareness campaigns are making people more aware about the positive influence of sports activities. There is growing awareness among the public about the linkages between being physical inactive and health-related issues, such as obesity and obesity-related conditions, including diabetes and cancer. Activity monitors provide an easy way to track activity levels. Data from these devices can often be shared with peer groups through social networking to gain support and maintain motivation. Smartphones: The proliferation of smartphones, especially among key fitness demographics, provides essentially a zero-cost sensing and software platform for basic fitness monitoring. This single form factor provides location via GPS, inertial sensing from the built-in accelerometer and gyroscope, mapping software, data analysis apps, large touchscreen display, music players, and connectivity via wireless (Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, ANT, and NFC) and mobile phone networks. From an app developer's perspective, smartphones provide both a development platform and a significant market for innovative apps that allow apps to be rapidly developed and shared with consumers. As a result, the consumer can avail of a large selection of apps for free or for a small one-off fee. As discussed in previous chapters, app developers do not have to be sensor experts, because the smartphone development environment abstracts the functional details of the underlying sensors. This is an advantage to nonsensor experts, but this abstraction can affect the accuracy of sensor measurements. For this reason, smartphones can also connect wirelessly to dedicated external fitness sensors for more accurate sensing. Availability of wireless fitness accessories: The availability of wireless fitness accessories, such as heart rate monitors (HRMs), step counters, cadence sensors, and power meters, allows consumers to add fitness functionality to their existing smartphones and/or outdoor GPS handhelds. These accessories communicate over standard interfaces, including ANT, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and near field communications (NFC) and provide APIs that smartphone developers can use to capture data from the accessories. This removes the need to purchase expensive dedicated fitness data loggers, such as fitness watches. The availability and popularity of fitness accessories is expected to increase as interoperability standards, particularly Bluetooth Smart (a Bluetooth low-energy protocol) (Bluetooth SIG, 2013) , are adopted by both smartphone and accessory manufacturers. Wearable technologies and intelligent textiles: The use of wearable technologies, such as the Fitbit, is becoming increasingly common among the general public. Where once wearing an obvious sensing device, such as a Holter monitor or personal alarm, was seen as a "badge of dependence" or a sign of illness, wearable sensors are now fashion items and "a badge of honor" that indicates the user is actively interested in maintaining their wellness. The form factor of wearables are becoming increasingly small, to the point that they are seamlessly integrating into our normal clothing, such as a sports bra or vest, and lives. The cost of these devices, such as smart wristwear devices like the Nike+ Fuelband, is falling and becoming more accessible to the casual fitness or wellness enthusiast. High-performance sports: Professional sports teams and athletes are continually seeking methods to gain a competitive advantage over their opposition. The data analytics team and sports scientist team are becoming as important as a coach in the sporting domain. Sports scientists provide insight into the athlete's fitness and well-being and continually monitor the athlete's parameters to optimize their training, nutrition, and rest requirements. Sports "stats" such as team formations, recent results, and real-time status are now an integral part of the television sports viewing experience. Professional sports teams analyze all aspects of their own performance, their opposition's performance, and even the referee's performance to identify weakness, which they can exploit to their own
doi:10.1007/978-1-4302-6014-1_10 fatcat:oertg3iqwjbn5jbntmoqd27rsi