On a recent Sunday morning, 93-year-old Bernie Fowler laced up his white sneakers and waded into Maryland's Patuxent River, a tributary of the Chesapeake Bay, just as he has done every June for the past 30 years. He was conducting his annual test of water clarity by seeing how deep he could go and still see the tops of his shoes.
Katherine Schreiber and Leslie Sim are experts on exercise addiction who believe that tech advances encourage obsessive goal monitoring. Schreiber and Sim loathe wearable tech. “It's the worst,” Schreiber says. “The dumbest thing in the world,” says Sim. Schreiber has written extensively about exercise addiction, and Sim is a clinical child adolescent psychologist at the Mayo Clinic. Many of Sim's adolescent patients have twin exercise and eating disorders, which tend to go together.
Exercise is hard. That should go without saying, but it's worth acknowledging. It's difficult enough to instill a new habit without all the things that make exercise uniquely unpleasant at first. You generally have to go to a crowded place full of cranky strangers, share equipment in close quarters, and sweat and shower alongside them. But on top of that, oh yeah, it's hard. A lot of the movements are weird and awkward for newcomers. Maybe you have to stick your butt up in the air, or wiggle around like a wet noodle in overpriced, stretchy clothing. It's not surprising that so few people stick to a regular workout regimen, because to some degree, if it's not hard, you're not doing it right.