Fragile Technology for An Active Life

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wdfqewImprovements in technology have allowed us to create a portable version of almost any electronic device. Because of the amazing power of smart phones, we can now have a clock, a pedometer, a telephone, and a complete array of music all in a device smaller than a pocket notebook.

The only downside is the fragility of these and other devices. When we live an active lifestyle, it’s very easy to damage our electronic equipment. That can include the very equipment we use to make the most of our exercise and other outdoor activities.

What’s the solution? These electronic devices aren’t just luxuries to enhance the experience. They are very much a necessity for safe and effective involvement in sports, exercise, and outdoor adventures.

Take navigation as one example. If you are into hiking, camping, rappelling, or any type of wilderness recreation, you really need something to provide GPS coordinates. This can help you get medical assistance in the event of an illness or injury, provide guidance for yourself if you get off the trail, and transmit your location to others if you are just so hopelessly lost that you need help to come for you.

Fortunately, smart phones can cover that duty and many others. The key thing is to protect the device. All the great apps in the world are of no help if the users don’t first get iPhone 6 cases to keep the units in working order.

And it takes a lot to keep them in working order. There are lots of potentially destructive forces you have to think about when you bring along your devices during exercise.

The most obvious one to most people is impact protection. Whether it’s a concrete walking track or a rocky woodland trail, it is very easy to do serious damage to an electronic device by dropping it. And because physical activity typically involves a considerable amount of fast movement–climbing, running, and so on–it’s very easy to make that drop. Devices can also be damaged by your sweat, the sloppy process of drinking water as you run, or by unexpected rainfall.

So it’s very important to have either a device that’s built from the ground up for a tough environment, or at least to use it with a good case that will protect it from the inevitable.

Another way around this problem is to simplify. Some people don’t want all the functionality of their smart phone while they’re exercising. You can’t answer it if you’re hanging off a sheer rock face anyway, so why risk damaging it? They may also want to go without their digital music, choosing instead to listen to nature or converse with companions.

The no-phone crowd instead chooses to use specialized devices that handle only the functions they want, like activity trackers. This minimalist approach is an obvious strategy for avoiding damage to smart phones. The question for you is whether you need that accessibility–given that we all assume everyone can be reached 24/7–or if you can just notify close contacts that you’re busy.

It’s worth keeping in mind that even if you want your phone with you, a true backwoods adventure may leave you out of range anyway. You’ll also need to be able to charge it, so rustic camping may preclude any means of plugging in. In this situation, you might be able to take turns activating phones with your companions so that everybody isn’t using battery at once. This can be helpful in case you get lost and need to use one of the searcher assistance apps. And of course, any amount of swimming or boating can be a very good reason to leave the device safely on shore in a vehicle.

So the take-home message–or maybe we could call it the take-outdoors message–is to consider your activity before you automatically load up your digital devices. If you will need it, it will work, and you can charge it, you should take it, but you should also protect it. If you won’t have signal, won’t want most of its functions, or won’t be able to maintain charge, keep it in a safe, dry place to await your return.

Published by Kidal Delonix (763 Posts)

Kidal Delonix is a contributor to Mr. Hoffman's blog. The views and opinions are entirely his/her own and may not reflect Mr Hoffman's views.

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