Traditional rowing machines equipped with devices that measure the power watios generated or stationary bicycles with an avatar on the screen that allows to digitally carry out the route, are examples of the new concept of digital gyms.
We live in an era of constant change, in which the unstoppable technological evolution has modified our traditional way of working, learning, socializing with others and enjoying our leisure. Nowadays, for almost every action that we undertake, we use technological devices that help us with our tasks.
Computers, Tablets, Smartphones, Apps… Even in the educational field there has taken place a hybridization between physical and digital spaces. Language academies, for instance, have long alternated in their classes traditional on-site teaching with another kind of teaching carried out by computer programs and applications. This is an effective way of boosting the learning potential of their students. And this concept of blending the physical and digital has transcended to other areas related with our leisure time and activities.
Sports is one of those areas in which millions of people around the world enjoy their leisure time practicing physical activity. During the last decades, the opening of new gyms in which to take advantage of our leisure time by working out, has increased considerably in every city. The integration of new technologies in these sporting premises, has led to their efficient evolution. In this way, a hybrid space between the physical and digital realms is created, promoting the improvement of physical abilities and motor skills oriented towards improving our health with the help of technology.
Digital rows, iCycling, exergames and light and sound carpets
The idea of a digital gym does not necessarily imply the creation of a new space different from the traditional gym. The integration of both concepts is the key. Something that is clear in the United States, where there already exist numerous gyms in which technology is a fundamental companion at the time of practicing sports.
The classic rowing machine incorporates a device that allows to keep track of the power watios generated with the exercise. Moreover, a video game is projected on a screen, in which an avatar simulates the advances made with the rowing. There exists the possibility of connecting several machines in order to be able to participate in virtual competitions.
The physical exercise is carried out on a stationary bicycle. In front of it, there is a screen in which an avatar travels the route. If along the way there is a slope, the bicycle will simulate its hardness, as well as its intensity and duration. There is the possibility of making indoor cycling competitions with other participants.
It consists of active video games in which the actions that the avatar makes on the screen are synchronized with the gestures and movements of the player. There are sensors that capture the movements while the platform interprets them.
Virtual Reality games such as Beat Saber combine rhythmic patterns with basic motor skills such as segmental or lateral coordination. This is an ideal way of working out and having fun at the same time. All thanks to the incalculable help of technology.
Light and sound carpets
In this case, technology is blended with sports through a large carpet adapted to detect pressure and movement. Diverse sequences of exercises can be programmed. There exists also a similar possibility that uses wireless digital tablets. They are positioned in different points along the gym, destined for this exercise, and they are programmed with a specific correct sequence. Individuals, through their movement, can work on their speed, strength, or aerobic capacity.
Technology and Physical Activity and Sports Sciences.
The integration of technology in leisure spaces, such as in digital gyms, constitute a world of present and future possibilities for graduates in Physical Activity and Sport Sciences. Specific training is needed within their study plans, with the aim of enabling the use of technological tools destined for the improvement of human capacities and abilities, active lifestyles and Physical Education oriented to health.
Coordinated by Miguelo Betancor León with Fernando Gómez Gonzalvo and Kevin Vázquez from @eSportTalentCan