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Confessions of a smartphone blogger: I don't use tech for exercise

When we were brewing up the idea of doing at CES this year, I had some reservations. These weren't reservations about doing a fitness month - it seemed like a good idea then and looking back on February it still looks that way.

My hesitation was personal. As some of you might be aware, I'm a member of the Ohio Army National Guard, and as part of that job I have to maintain a minimum level of physical fitness, and through the past eight years I've worked to do so. I'll admit to some struggles in that department - I suffer from bouts of lazy and "I don't wanna", but by and large I've been able to stay in relatively good shape, at least well enough to pass an annual Army Physical Fitness Test.

There's just one thing: I learned how to exercise from the Army in basic training. I can count on one hand the encounters I had with technology during my nine weeks at Fort Knox during the summer of 2004: the pay phone to call my parents and girlfriend, the little CRT TV that we watched Apocalypse Now on for July 4th, the fancy but faulty nighttime rifle range simulator, and the stopwatch the Drill Sergeants used to time our runs. So I learned to exercise, to do pushups and situps and run two miles without the aid of technology. It was do push-ups until your arms turn to jelly, do sit-ups until you can get your shoulders off the ground, and run until you can't stand. There's no tech needed to do that, and no tech that can help with such a simple routine of "go until you can't go anymore, then do some more."

I was seventeen-years-old then, so while I found technology cool, the extent of my collection at that point was a Gateway laptop (chunky, as you would expect for 2004) and a Palm Tungsten T3 PDA (still one of my all-time favorite bits of technology). I still had a film camera (it took me until 2007 to make the jump to digital) and didn't get a cellphone until after basic training - a smartphone took another year after that. And while there were plenty of exercise-tracking technology bits in the mid-2000's, they were almost universally bulky, inaccurate, difficult to use, and of limited usefulness.

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