All I needed was a (digital) guardian angel

Let’s just pretend we don’t see the tumbleweeds rolling across my blog, shall we, and get straight to the story. I wrote a piece recently for IntelIQ that looks at performance-boosting technology. Sounds great – we all want to be better, faster, stronger, right?

Turns out a huge focus of all these new technologies is pretty simple. Keep us safe. Put another way, in my book, protect us from ourselves. Since we can’t always trust that we will know (or heed) our own limits, and we can’t reply on coaches or trainers to bear that responsibility, technology is stepping in. You can’t lie to your device and say it doesn’t hurt that bad. And a device can’t make misguided decisions in telling you you should definitely keep going. Now, obviously technology is not a substitute for the golden rule of knowing yourself, but if used correctly, there’s a lot of cool stuff out there that can keep athletes from getting hurt. Because nobody’s getting better if they’re sitting on the sidelines.

“We came up with technology to monitor what your body does when you play,” says Brian Kopp, Catapult president for North America. “It captures every single micro-movement your body makes, then translates the output into data so you know how hard you work.”

Wearable devices can recognize when an athlete is fatigued, compensating for muscle tightness, dehydrated, over-exerting, and countless other factors. They can be, said Clarke, an athlete’s “guardian angel.”

Keep reading Wearable Devices Give Athletes a Personal Performance Boost

And in the meantime, here’s a little bit of what I’ve been up to:

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Six things I learned in my bunny slope ski lessons

Finding success at Deer Valley, Utah. Photo by Whitney Tressel

When people moan about being too old to learn this sport or that, I usually want to scoff. Abilities often have way more to do with your enthusiasm and fitness level than any arbitrary number does. But I have to confess: I felt that my particular number was a bit on the high side to be tackling snow skiing for the first time. Becoming a beginner at a sport that involves careening down a snow-covered mountain on two skinny, slippery sticks — especially for someone who’s as prone to accident and injury as I am — seemed, if I’m being honest, a terrifying prospect.

In fact, by the time I strapped on and bundled up to head out into the falling snow (aptly enough) at Snowbird in Utah last week, I was as scared as I’d ever been on any rock climb, white water rapid or mountain biking path. But the lure of learning a new sport – advanced age notwithstanding — outweighed (barely) the nervousness, and I stepped onto the “magic carpet ride” conveyor belt with gusto, the first in a little band of five new, wanna-be skiers in the first-timers’ class at the resort. Between those first few moments of awkwardly navigating bunny slopes in my skis and the third afternoon of the trip when I could scarcely believe I was swishing down an honest-to-goodness trail, I learned a few pearls of wisdom from my instructors at Snowbird, Park City Mountain Resort and Deer Valley.

Read the six things I learned from ski lessons