SOUND MIND, SOUND BODY - Gadgets a boost, but don't let them run you

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We all know that it takes more than the latest gadget or iPhone app to keep us fit or honest with ourselves about our workout or diet, but it can spark interest in being active in a new and more engaging way.

Technology has infiltrated the world of health and fitness with electronic food scales and websites that manage and help track your diet. Sites such as Lance Armstrong's livestrong.com are perfect examples of health and fitness colliding with technology.

Pedometers have gone from our wrists to our shoes and can talk to our iPods and iPhones. Nowadays all three of the big gaming systems, Sony's Playstation3, Microsoft's Xbox 360 and Nintendo's Wii, have games that promote health and fitness.

Not only are these systems meant to entertain, they help people achieve exercise goals and track weight loss. Even personal trainers have gone from "personal" to virtual. Can all this fancy technology really keep us fit?

When health and fitness collides with technology, what we consider to be typical turns into technical. These technical additions at times can be a benefit but in some cases they become a distraction.

We can become more absorbed in the technology than the overall goal of our health and fitness or safety, such as if during a vigorous jog or bike ride we are more interested in the information displayed on a gadget on our arm, wrist or bike than the cars and trucks speeding around us.

With the majority of our daily rituals being intertwined with technology now, it is important to find the balance. It is not necessary to have the best and most up-to-date items to reach goals, but engaging with programs and games that best fit you and your family's needs can help you reach new levels of health and wellness and lead to a better lifestyle.

The best way to understand and embrace all of this exciting technology and find out what works for you is to do your research.

Look into your community, and you might be surprised to find how many local organizations have classes on technology that will help you make an informed decision. At the YMCA, we will begin offering technology classes this summer.

Health and fitness can be achieved in many ways and embracing the technology that promotes it can make the path to a healthy lifestyle even more exciting and fun.

Jentzen Mooney recently moved to Walla Walla from Los Angeles, where he worked in the film visual effects industry the last 7 years. His most recent works in visual effects were the films Thor, Captain America and The Green Hornet. He is currently technology instructor at the YMCA, which is offering summer courses in animation, video editing and game design. For more information on the classes, go to wwymca.org/programs/technology-classes.

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