Playing the Game of Fitness

According to the World Health Organization, cardiovascular diseases, cancers, chronic respiratory diseases and diabetes are the world’s greatest killers, causing an estimated 36 million deaths each year and 63 percent of all deaths globally. Many of these illnesses are called lifestyle diseases—illnesses that befall us when we don’t prioritize healthy nutrition or fitness. According to the American Diabetes Association, more than 79 million Americans are prediabetic today, but only 11 percent are aware of it. Studies have shown that simply moving our bodies at least 30 minutes per day with some level of exertion can actually halt or reverse these health concerns. So why don’t more people make this a priority?

For most people, it is difficult to prioritize fitness in daily life. For others, the complexity associated with choosing the right gym, personal trainer, boot camp or class deters them from even starting the process. Thus, the first course of action—and the one that sticks—is to avoid the responsibility altogether. Compounding the situation is the prevalent availability of inexpensive fast food, often usurping fresh, homemade, healthier options. It is a recipe for building a nation of unhealthy and unhappy citizens.

However, the future does not need to remain so bleak. As found with many daily chores, technology has often interceded to make lives better, easier and more fulfilling. Today, many options are available to support the path to health and fitness. Tools that help measure progress, such as a pedometer that tracks miles walked or stairs climbed, help assure that exercise is accomplished. Evaluation tools that assess body composition (lean muscle versus fat, weight, height) work to measure and validate future success. Applications and programs also exist to help track calories consumed versus burned, plan meals and create shopping lists—all to assist with eating the right foods in the proper amounts to maintain a healthy weight and fitness level.

While technology is helpful, it also adds to the noise of confusion. Consumers are expected to spend over $400 million by 2016 on a wide variety of gadgets, gizmos and tools that successfully support getting fit. An additional $61 billion will be spent in the weight loss industry. The majority of dollars spent on gadgets are by consumers hoping to capture basic and necessary information about their bodies and their progress, but also to maintain their motivation to get fit and to stay healthy. In this digital age, consumers have learned to play the ‘game’ of getting fit.

So, what’s the answer? Consumers can benefit from a solution that is both scientifically supported and digitally managed to ensure success. A perfectly balanced fitness program that both inspires competitive goal setting and tracking of results, such as the one used at Koko FitClub, could be the key to getting many people off the couch and actively developing their fitness life.

Lana Lemeshov is the owner of Koko FitClub, located at 39 Harvard St., in Brookline Village, and 77 Spring St. (Shaw’s Plaza), in West Roxbury. For more information, call 617-566-5656 (Brookline) or 617-325-4800 (West Roxbury) or visit to schedule your complete Fitness Assessment.

Free Fitness Apps

Looking to lose weight, exercise more, beat your best running or cycling time, or simply keep track of what you eat? Here are five free apps that can help you get the job done.

Fitocracy: Uses game-like stats to spur on friendly competition and increase your dedication to working out. Available on: Android, iOS, and Web.

Fitsby: Workout motivation app asks you to put your money where your mouth is. It uses a combination of gamification and betting to push you and your friends to reach a desired goal for exercising. Available on: Android (an iOS version is reportedly coming soon).

GAIN Fitness: Workout coaching app and website. It lets you set and schedule routines for exercising at the gym, at home, or while on the go. Available on: iOS and Web. Free to download; $2.99 per additional exercise pack.

Lose It!: Designed for counting calories and logging exercise, it helps with weight loss, especially for those that eat name-brand American foods. Has a strong community of supportive people to help you stick to your goals. Available on: Android, iOS, Kindle, Nook, and Web.

MyFitnessPal: One of the best allin- one calorie counter and exercise trackers, that is quick and easy to use. Has an active and supportive online community. Available on: Android, BlackBerry, iOS, Windows Phone, and Web. Source: PC Magazine 

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