When we're researching the latest fitness trends, health innovations, and ways of using technology to promote wellness, one of our favorite sites to turn to is Greatist. Described as a health and fitness source for the young, savvy and social, Greatist aims to provide fun, informative, helpful articles on how to better improve fitness, health and happiness for the busiest of folks.
Recently, Greatist's Happiness Editor (talk about a dream job title) Shana Lebowitz put together a list of the 24 Biggest Health & Fitness Innovations of the Future and we were instantly floored. Yes, we want to be able to print our meals, wear clothes that regulate our body temperature, and remedy heartbreak!
Here are our top 12 favorite health and fitness innovations from the list:
1. 3D Meal-Printing
Just don’t salivate on the computer: Engineers at The Massachusetts Institute of Technology have developed the “Digital Fabricator Concept,” a prototype for a machine that prints three-dimensional meals. An electronic Ratatouille, the printer whips up hot and cold dishes that correspond to users’ specific nutritional requirements. One order of PB&J? Talk about a printer jam.
2. Sit-Stand Workstations
Offices will soon be a sea of bobbleheads— healthy ones, that is. Recent research has linked a sedentary lifestyle to a slew of health issues, like weight gain, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. To prevent these problems, some offices have already implemented sit-stand workstations, which allow users to adjust desk height, alternately sitting and standing throughout the day.
3. Better School Lunches
Shrimp and scallop ceviche may be unrealistic, but it’s likely the next few years will bring big changes in the way kids eat in public schools. While Congress voted down the latest proposal to improve school lunches in November 2011, the U.S. Agriculture Department has been pushing to change the nutritional requirements for years. Maybe they’ll also have to break the news that pizza doesn’t count as a vegetable.
4. Airplane Lights that Prevent Jet Lag
H.G. Wells made it look cool, but in reality traveling through time (zones) can be a real bummer. Recently, an airplane that flies from the USA to Asia rolled out high-tech LED bulbs designed to help prevent jet lag in passengers. If the technology catches on, world travelers can rest easy knowing they won’t face a sudden bout of narcolepsy while touring the Louvre.
5. Football Helmets that Reduce Concussions
Get knocked down and get back up again, without losing brain cells. In May 2011, Virginia Tech rated different helmets designed to reduce the risk of concussion on the football field. Some Virginia Tech players are sporting the headgear already; everyone else can pay a pretty penny for some brain protection of their own.
6. Clothing that Regulates Body Temperature
It’s getting hot in here, so… put on all your clothes? Sportswear companies are selling threads that offer weather protection and temperature management. Soon it’ll be possible to run like the wind, and in it, too. Looks like we’ll have to find a new reason not to exercise in a snowstorm.
7. Hi-Tech Gear for All
LeBron’s not the only one who gets an all-star workout. In the next few years, fitness trainers will start giving the general public the pro treatment, according to trainer Noam Tamir. The ViPR’s a good example: It’s a training tool designed to improve coordination, speed, and agility. And the Alter-G anti-gravity treadmill allows athletes to decrease the amount of body weight they run with. Guess professional athletes aren’t so fancy, huh?
8. Mind-Reading Software
Big Brother, beware: Scientists at the University of California Berkeley have developed technology that reconstructs the images in people’s brains. The machine may help doctors treat people like stroke victims and coma patients who can’t communicate verbally. It may also allow paralyzed patients to control computers with their minds. Let’s just hope they can’t see us dreaming of stress reduction during the workday.
9. Hi-Tech Health Care
Nearly 26 million Americans suffer from diabetes— but how many of them have smartphones? In June 2011, AT&T launched DiabetesManager, a program that lets people with diabetes upload info like blood sugar levels and photos of wounds and submit them to their physicians for immediate review. According to Dr. Sherry Pagoto (http://www.greatist.com/Sherry-Pagoto/), in the next few years, patients will likely be able to use digital technology to get real-time professional feedback for a variety of other health problems.
10. Gray Hair Pill
Rapunzel, Rapunzel, your hair is still blonde? By 2015, drugstores may feature a relative fountain of youth: a pill from L’Oreal that keeps the color in those locks. Apparently, the pill only works before hair has actually started graying. And some docs worry the pill could be dangerous, so perhaps it’s safer to take a tip from Nicki Minaj.
11. Videoconferencing Therapy
Here’s one way to overcome boundaries. Recently, videoconferencing has become more popular among psychologists, psychiatrists, and other mental health professionals. Using web services like Skype, patients can get immediate help from a therapist miles away. (Hopefully the problem isn’t a technology addiction.) Videoconferencing may improve mental health treatment particularly in rural areas where there aren’t as many psychologists as in cities.
12. Remedy for Heartbreak
Gotta wait 'til 2112 for this one. It got the best of Mariah Carey, but scientists may find a way to get rid of heartbreak. Studies show there’s a biological component to getting over what’s-their-name, and there may one day be a medical treatment for a broken heart. (Though cookie dough and Alanis Morissette will likely still work.)
What fitness innovations can you dream up for the future? Caught wind of any new health technologies we should know about? Leave us a note in the comments below or find us on Twitter.
Note: All of the health & fitness innovation descriptions and links are courtesy of Greatist.