How can technology be an ally to physical exercise?

Among the gym goers, there is wisdom that says so no pain no gain, Or, in the free translation, there is no profit without suffering. In addition to being completely unreal – you don’t have to suffer to be healthy and fit – the coaching received a very welcome help: that Technique.

With equipment and applications, it is possible to harmonize the intrinsic drive (which makes the individual feel pleasure in the exercise of physical activity) with the extrinsic motivation, that is: an external provocation that not only cooperates with the result, but also with the possibility of greater control over the evolution of the exercises.

Singer Fernanda Abreu, 60, has had a relationship with her body since she was nine, when she started performing classical ballet – a style she still practices today. Aside from the gym, I’ve sought, over the years, within dance itself and in other ways, such as yoga and Pilates, a way to stay active and healthy.

In this search for what kept her body conscious, Fernanda recently discovered electrical stimulation (EMS), or “choquinhos,” as it’s widely known. In fact, it is about stimulating the muscles through electrical impulses, a training method created in Germany in 2007, which over the past five years has gained supporters in Brazil.

In it, the student wears a jacket that covers part of his body. In this costume, there are electrodes that are connected to a device that emits and controls the electrical impulses. Due to the ease of transportation, many physical teachers already offer training at home – the cost is about R$150 per class.

Fernanda’s first contact with this technology was through a video clip on social networks. You’ve already heard of “choquinhos” for aesthetic purposes, but not as an exercise option. I decided to give it a try.

“It’s great because it (electrical stimulation) improves work, not only in exercise, but also on the strength side. Since I’ve never been a weightlifter, I was interested in being a dynamic technique that has something to do with my activities. Plus, it’s Active activity ”, highlights the singer who trains once a week.

Fernanda warns that her number one goal is to gain muscle — and faster. “Like everything in life, nothing is a miracle. It depends a lot on your effort. However, I really felt the difference. I felt energized and in a better mood for the rest of the day,” he explains, about his first impressions.

The singer also warns of the importance of knowing your body and its limits – the method requires a lot of practice and lasts about 20 minutes. “You’re the one who has to tell the teacher how far you can go. It’s raising the levels of strength that electrical stimulation provides in different muscle groups. So, the mind has to focus on the exercise,” he admits.

Physical educator Kao Saad, who owns an institute in the Jardins neighborhood of São Paulo, is the German technology ambassador Miha in Brazil. It claims that EMS has the ability to target the inner fibers of the muscles. “I have a traditional training technique, but progression in it, as in others, such as increasing the load, repetitions and changing the angle, means exhausting the joint. On the other hand, the electrical stimulation is able to reach the fibers without there being such a large overload,” he explains.

Electrical stimulation is often compared to functional training, which is a dynamic activity that explores everyday movements, such as jumping, jumping, spinning, and squatting. “It’s not a wrong comparison. For some students, I associate it with, say, running on a treadmill,” stresses Kao, who also uses accessories like rubber bands, balls and weights, depending on the purpose and progress of the training.

new relationship

Entrepreneur Jose Marvara, managing partner of Reebok Sports Club Academies, for nearly four decades in the region, began setting himself 10 years ago for what he, three years ago, considered an exemplary: a tool that integrates information and practical method. The pandemic has accelerated implementation.

The academy has developed its own app where each student’s training is separated by days of the week. There, he also holds places in the classes held during the day and can follow their daily, weekly or monthly development. Each teacher works with a tablet in his hands on which he checks active students and checks their training.

“The biggest problem in gyms has always been the lack of individual monitoring by a multidisciplinary team. Technology has allowed us to prescribe a physical activity program and evaluate the result during a certain period. For the client, the app shows what he is improving and gives him the opportunity to manage his training, which is very motivating,” Marvara is considered.

On the other hand, principals can figure out which areas and classes are of the greatest importance to organizers and rate teachers according to students’ performance – they can also assign grades to professionals.

The unit inside the Shopping Cidade Jardim contains Swiss equipment from BodyGee that, within a few minutes, using high-resolution cameras, performs an analysis of the student’s body and posture, and generates a 3D image and information such as weight, measurements and body fat.

The analysis is available to both physical education professionals and students – who can, for example, share it with doctors and nutritionists. Every 60 or 90 days it can be repeated and results are compared automatically. Out of nearly 7,000 students from my two academic units, 60% have already passed the analysis.


Marvara believes that the next advancement in technology is to specifically enhance the exchange of information about training with health professionals. Being aware of market news, such as the seasons starting to appear in the metaverse, he noticed that people still prefer being in the gym environment. “The pandemic has made people more open to news in this area,” he recalls.

Businesswoman Caroline Lazaretti, 38, although she has been training in the unit since 2002, has never done the evaluation on the equipment, which has been available for 3 years. “I was used to the traditional physical evaluation, done in a room, with electrodes on the body. I thought the speed (of the machine) was great. I was stopping it because I thought it would take longer.”

Carolina defines herself as more of an actor than a technology – she forgot her app password. “I need more patience to enter this universe. I joke that my two-year-old is more connected than I am. But I think technology came for ease.”

practical life

For Fernando Carmelo Torres, General Director of the Center for the Study of the Physiology of Exercise and Training (Cefit) and President-elect of the Brazilian Society of Exercise and Sports Medicine, technology has, over the years, contributed to the advancement of the practices of equipment, control and sportswear.

He mentions, for example, the use of dryfit fabric, already widely available on the market, which facilitates heat exchange with the environment, prevents retention and improves the performance of the practitioner. In cycling, carbon fiber bikes prefer cornering, climbing and fast sprinting. For Paralympic athletes, there are shoes that adapt to their specific needs.

“Today, heart rate monitors, or current smartwatches, not only measure an individual’s heart rate. Using GPS, it shows speed, for example. This gives him better control over his training load and helps him to Achieving his goal, which he can be different every day. This makes the activity more effective and personal. With this information management, the practitioner improves his performance and avoids injuries, “assures the doctor.

Torres draws attention to a kind of “shirt” that football players wear under their shirts. A widget, in fact, is a piece of equipment that collects data about an athlete’s performance during a match. This allows the technical team to prepare increasingly individual training sessions.

“The innovations in the industry are for elite athletes and amateurs alike. New devices and accessories allow for highly adjustable training,” the doctor tells. This equipment also allows coaches or personal trainers to control training remotely. Or for the student to share with their teacher, at any time, what has been done for subsequent assessment.

Many of the devices available on the market have evolved and have brought increasingly accurate data, says physical educator Renato Verzani, who has a PhD in Human Development and Technologies. However, users need behavioral adaptation so as not to distort the true purpose of their training or get excited about so-called application manipulation – the use of game strategies, such as scores and levels.

“Many of these applications have internal goals or allow competitions between athletes. With this, the practitioner often fails to follow the coach’s instructions to try to beat a record on the application. Care must be taken not to get injured,” he knows.

According to the expert, application developers are already aware of these distortions and are promoting user awareness campaigns and pointing out dangerous clips. “Technology is only adding and will be increasingly present in training. It is enough to make good use of it.”

How technology can help with exercise

Training and equipment previously restricted to high-level athletes are increasingly available to amateurs. This is the case with Body Gee equipment, which generates a 3D image of the student in the gym, as well as with performance measurement applications.

Controlling training, frequency, and results are the biggest benefits of technology. This way, what is working can be seen and the student’s progress monitored. It also makes it easy to set goals. For those who live without time, technology helps to conduct a more focused and objective training.

Modern treadmills and bikes allow you to link to your favorite training app, like Strava (commonly used by those who run or jog on a bike), for example. It’s a way to make internships more enjoyable.

Specific apps used in gyms offer game-like exercises. They can encourage physical activity, but you need to be careful not to injure yourself if you push yourself too far.

There is already talk of training in the metaverse, a virtual environment in which, with the help of 3D glasses, it is possible to perform physical activity, such as running in the company of other participants or playing a game of basketball. The development of the online class that has become popular in the epidemic.

Remember: Technology is not a substitute for medical evaluation and guidance from a physical education professional.

Leave a Comment