Smart Wear: Gadgets that Help Athletes Avoid Injuries

It seems like wearable technology has an answer for everything. From tracking the location of a stray pet to monitoring a spike in a diabetic’s glucose levels, the greatest minds are coming up with ways to make our lives better. There’s even a virtual tablet you can wear like a headset as previously showcased on TechSpective, and it may very well force you to stop looking down at your phones in the future. For now, we can all agree that the biggest market for wearables is the fitness industry, with most products aiming to provide insights that can improve athletic performance.

smart wear athletes fitness
Image credit Alignmed

From GPS wrist watches and heart rate monitors, the industry is now focusing on creating products that feel natural and more like a second skin. Improving posture is one of the priorities as it is one of the reasons for athletic injuries. One homegrown company, Alignmed, launched what is called a Posture Shirt that aims to improve the wearer’s stance whether sitting down or running. USA Today relays that there are ‘neurobands’ woven into the shirt which stimulate muscles surrounding the spine, particularly the shoulders. When the core disengages, and the back starts to hunch forward, leaving the spine vulnerable to injury, it activates the corresponding muscles to increase protective power.

Many high-profile athletes have already been seen sporting them including Washington Wizards’ Dwight Howard and Kansas City Royals’ Greg Holland, who reportedly wears it for every game. Bad posture can not only heighten your vulnerability to injury, it can also affect an arm’s throwing power and precision. These are a baseball pitcher’s indispensable skills, so there may be more to Holland’s game uniform than superstitious belief.

smart wear athlete fitness
Image credit Enflux

Another posture-correcting garment is Enflux by Enflux Smart Clothing. It’s not out on the market yet but they started a Kickstarter campaign in 2016 which has been surpassed and is slated to officially launch this coming winter. What Enflux does is transmit a real-time 3D graphics of your movement to the accompanying app and provides audio feedback when correction is needed.

If you don’t understand how to interpret the results, Digital Trends notes that you can send the 3D images to professionals via their network so you can get personalized coaching. Not knowing how to properly use information from wearables is what makes them just another piece of clothing or an expensive new watch. Having a professional teach you how to take full advantage of your gear or device is what makes wearables worth it.

For bulkier pieces of technology, smart helmets can mean the difference between life and death. In the NFL, Coral reports that sensors and magnet technology embedded in helmets can detect signs of brain injury. In a high-contact and high-impact environment, this is valuable information, especially considering that concussions are all too common on the field. For cyclists, the Livall BH60SE connected helmet is a godsend that focuses on improving visibility on the road with impressive LED lights that also function as turn indicators. This can minimize the risk of getting into a roadside accident and in effect, lower your chances of getting injured. Should a cyclist fall, the SOS feature will send alerts to pre-registered contacts with their exact location.

smart wear athlete fitness
Image credit Wareable

There are many other notable wearables that can help athletes avoid injuries. Nadi X, a swanky pair of leggings, is a highly trusted product among yogis to help them achieve the ideal pose. Lumo’s smart running shorts has biosensors in the waistband that monitor pelvic rotation and cadence among other things that can help improve your form and prevent injuries. You can pair that with Sensoria’s smart running socks which Wareable explains are embedded with pressure sensors. Aside from similar metrics as Lumo’s running shorts, it can show you how your feet land on the ground and which side of the foot absorbs most of the impact. Whether you’re underpronating or overpronating, these impressive socks will let you know.

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