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Published on: 14-Apr-2023

Superior strength, endurance, speed, and fitness are all essentials that athletes must improve and maintain. However, even though they engage in extensive training programs and regimens, injuries may still arise due to overexertion or inability to analyze the injury potential of a training regimen or game plan.  

With the advancement of technology, athletes can now leverage wearable tech for health and fitness monitoring, predict and prevent injury, improve game strategy, and face other sports-related challenges.

Understanding Wearable Technology  

Wearable technology, or wearables, are at the forefront of the bigger umbrella, the Internet of Things (IoT). They are the technology behind smartwatches, smart glasses, smart shoes, wearable medical devices, and other electronic devices that can be worn as accessories, implanted on the body, embedded in garments, or tattooed on the skin.  

Wearables have built-in sensors that track physical movements or activities throughout the day. They’re prominently used in the healthcare industry to monitor patients’ vital signs and are now also being utilized in sports and fitness to track performance metrics and health. 

Read on to learn how wearable tech can impact athletic performance and what to look for when choosing and using wearables.

Five Ways Wearable Tech Impacts Performance  

Wearable technology in elite sports tracks professional athletes’ training sessions and monitors their performance. Today, wearable sports technology keeps advancing; it started as simple biometric monitoring devices and has become more sophisticated with the inclusion of psychological and perceptual aspects to boost professional athletic performance.  

To give you some ideas, wearable tech can impact athlete performance in the following ways:

  • Improve Training Safety  

Safe training is equivalent to excellent athlete performance since sports or training injuries due to unsafe training can negatively affect athlete performance. So, to improve training safety, embracing wearable technology can be an option worth considering. 

Athletes and other physically active individuals can use heart rate monitors (HRMs) when engaging in intense workout routines or activities. According to an observational study published by Via Medica, modern heart rate monitors with an electrocardiogram (ECG) recording are an effective diagnostic tool for diagnosing athletes’ cardiac arrhythmias (irregular heart rhythm. These sports heart rate monitors can significantly contribute to increased safety during training.  

Athletes can improve their training safety by investing in high-quality heart rate monitors. They can buy them online from a reputable medical device manufacturing company.

  • Keep Athletes in Top Condition  

Smartwatches and other wearables can help monitor everything from the heart rate, steps per day, calories burned, pulse oxygen levels, and much more. Hence, wearables are perfect everyday tools for athletes to stay in shape and improve their performance.   

Data-tracking wearables can also signal when athletes need to take breaks to ensure they avoid burnout. They provide alerts when vital signs become abnormal, indicating risks of a serious physical injury or health problem.   

For instance, NASCAR drivers wear smart rings to detect early signs of a health problem and to help them seek medical attention sooner. On the other hand, wearables clipped into helmets and headbands can help track brain activity to determine if coaches need to pull off injured football players because of severe head trauma.  

In addition, GPS trackers can be sewn into NFL players’ uniforms to feed data in real-time data about their speed, acceleration, motion, and balance. This wearable tech can detect soft tissue injuries for coaches to pull out players before serious health problems occur.

  • Design Smart Athlete Training Programs   

Wearable technology deploys intuitive sensors. Athletes and coaches can use this technology to gather vital signs and other fitness data to design smart training programs and improve training outcomes.   

For instance, skaters and skiers can wear GPS-equipped bibs, breaking down a run’s fastest and slowest parts. That way, they can determine if they’re doing well, shaping the focus of their future training sessions.   

Wearables are also becoming a trend in basketball training. Hindawi published a study on wearable product design to monitor basketball training posture using image processing. The wearable product aims to monitor basketball players’ training posture during low-handed dribbling.  

In addition, wearables can also evaluate an athlete’s risk level of sustaining a second anterior cruciate ligament injury. Data showing above-average risk can prompt coaches to delay training or cancel practice games to avoid ACL injury.

  • Help Athletes Push Their Boundaries  

Wearables like smart goggles can help athletes push their boundaries. Athletes can track their vital signs and other performance metrics to help them progress in training. In addition, wearable devices can record physical performance objectively, making professional sports a calculable science.  

Adam Lucio, an adaptive athlete, said in a CNN interview that wearables, like smart goggles, are the future of training, which help him pursue his para-triathlete goals. Lucio also said that wearables allow athletes to track their performance down to the millisecond and understand and correct their form. 

In a MEDICA interview, Sebastian Kienle talked about using wearables to take his athletic abilities to the next level. He uses wearables, like a portable electro-stimulator and a smartwatch, in training and competition. Wearing them is an excellent way for him to listen to his body. Also, he mentioned that mental parameters or gut instincts could be difficult to measure, so relying on wearable data can deliver more objective results to improve performance.

  • Allow Athletes to Attain Work-Life Balance   

Professional athletes also experience burnout due to prolonged training. They train many hours a day, and some can’t find time to relax and enjoy other activities, such as socializing with friends and their families. That’s when wearable tech can help, too. 

Wearables have built-in smart sensors that collect relevant data. Athletes can fuel their bodies to attain optimal performance by finding the best times for high-intensity training and relaxation, allowing them to achieve work-life balance. The data is viewable through the wearable device’s dashboard or a mobile app via a smartphone, tablet, or computer. And since reminder and notification systems are in place, athletes will remember to take a break, eat, sleep, or follow their training schedule.

Final Thoughts 

Wearable tech can impact athlete performance in many ways. Athletes can track their training progress and improve safety using wearable heart rate monitors to prepare for competitions. Aside from monitoring athletic training, this technology is also an excellent tool for evaluating in-game performance and physical injury recovery.   

Furthermore, wearables can help athletes push their limits to win more victories. Whether you’re an aspiring or seasoned athlete, wearing wearables can help you achieve your goals and positively impact your overall performance.