Digital Technologies for Physical Activity

Inactivity costs the population an annual INT$54bn and is a risk factor for noncommunicable illnesses like colon, breast and heart cancers, diabetes, and heart disease [1]. Physical activity is an important health habit. However the rate of progress towards the recommended levels of PA was slow. In order to encourage a more active lifestyle, interventions should be appealing and accessible to all people even those who may not be motivated.

Digital technology is an effective tool in this area. Studies have shown that eHealth applications and wearable devices can help people to increase their physical activity and help them monitor and manage their behaviour changes. It is important to keep in mind that not all digital technologies are equally effective for all. Particularly, those with low SES are more likely to encounter barriers when using technology to enhance health [behaviour] (e.g. difficulties in accessing affordable devices and internet connectivity).

In the field of digital technology for physical activities, research is fresh, but some interesting results have been discovered. Virtual reality and augmented reality for example, have been shown to enhance learning and enjoyment of physical activities. Gaming has also been proven as a way to motivate children to become more active and make PE more enjoyable. Moreover, Burges Watson et al. Furthermore, Burges Watson et al. have discovered that students who participated in games showed more positive attitudes towards PE topics and were more willing to collaborate with other students in groups.