Taking Part in The Conversation: How Technology Helps Olympians

Olympic Rings

Wearable technology, such as Fitbits, have revolutionized the way that people work out. And that includes Olympians. Jaci VanHeest, an Associate Professor of Education at the University of Connecticut, has recently published an article on The Conversation about the ways that new technology is being used to make Olympian training more effective. VanHeest worked as a sports physiologist with elite athletes for two decades, so she knows firsthand how important it is to find a training regimen that pushes an athlete the right amount, and she believes that these new devices could be the key.

The first measurement that this wearable technology provides athletes and trainers is heartbeat. By comparing an athlete’s real-time heartbeat to their maximum heart rate, trainers can see how hard the body is working. “By tuning the workout to keep the athlete’s heart rate in certain ranges for certain periods, a coach or sport scientist can optimize both exertion and recovery time,” writes VanHeest.

In addition, this technology can provide information about how much force a body is experiencing, which is useful for skaters, snowboarders, and other athletes who perform leaps. In figure skating, for example, 70 percent of injuries are from overuse and the accumulation of injuries from performing these potentially dangerous moves. VanHeest says, “Wearable monitors can track how many jumps a person takes and measure the rotational, gravitational and other forces involved in the jumps and landings. These readings can help coaches ensure athletes develop strength and endurance while warning of potential for injury.” 

Finally, these devices record data on nutrition, exertion, stress forces, sleep, and recovery. This means that a trainer can see how well an athlete slept the night before and adjust workouts for the day accordingly. VanHeest believes that all this data can be used to “improve training, boost performance and, ideally, make it to the top of a medal podium.” 

To read the full article, visit https://theconversation.com/wearable-technologies-help-olympians-achieve-top-performance-91721.