Saturday 20 January 2018

Fitness apps can damage your health warn doctors and fitness experts

KIRSTEN ELDER

Doctors and sports experts are warning that getting hung up on new sports applications (apps) can damage your health.

Like most things in life there is not a single app to suit everybody’s wants and needs, so to get the most of your fitness app you need to know how to use it correctly.

“We need to learn how to take advantage of the apps, find out which ones are appropriate and what ones we can actually take and use in medicine and make them useful to people with chronic disease management,” said Dr. Michael McKenna, lead of South Belfast Integrated Care Partnership (ICP)

He added: “Remember many of these apps are designed for commercial purposes, so there are designed actually to make profit and they may not necessarily be suitable to the individual using them, so you might want to take a bit of care in what app you choose.”

Some of these fitness apps can bring on extra anxiety in certain individuals, with mental health problems affecting one in four people in their lifetime and one in eight people at any given time in society.

Dr. Michael McKenna said: “Naturally one of the things that treat’s anxiety very well is exercise and healthy living so while we want to promote one to help the other we don’t want to make one make the other condition worse.”

It is always a good idea to seek advice first from a health care professional or a personal trainer if you are thinking about using a fitness app, so your exercise plan is tailored to personal needs.

“A lot of people just get these apps and start a fitness regime that’s too extreme for them or they are doing exercises where they could cause injury to themselves,” said Gary Ball, Pure Gym Manager, Belfast.

He added: “They may be people friendly but they are not going to get you fit. You are better coming down and speaking to someone face-to-face so they can personalise your fitness regime round you, your lifestyle, if you have any injuries or any complaints-simple things. We try to promote a lot of interaction from staff, the personal trainers will always be walking round the gym giving people advice.”

Like many people using these apps, Pure Gym member Bernard Lavery’s main goal is to keep fit and healthy.

He said: “I use MyFitnessPal app, it keeps track of macros (macronutrients i.e. fats, proteins, carbohydrates) for your food and also training. I find it very useful and I would advise people to check it out, you will get something out of it but you should get some knowledge round it first.”

Belfast Telegraph

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