Cloud technology: A game changer for athlete training and health

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With the opening ceremonies of the Rio Olympics less than a month away, this Olympics will showcase the most innovative technology the Games has ever seen. From sensors that allow fans to monitor athletes’ heart rates in real time, to lap counters at the bottom of swimming lanes, technology is changing the entire landscape of sports. Even the way fans consume it.

What’s even more interesting is the way cloud technology is revolutionizing the way athletes (whether they are Rio-bound, or just regular people like you and me) eat, sleep, and train to improve their overall health, eliminate injury, and achieve optimum performance.

Training + cloud = better results

Take ORRECOhealth-and-training, a provider of biomarker analysis for professional athletes, for example. ORRECO has partnered with IBM Watson to build a cognitive app that analyzes massive amounts of performance data to “better equip athletes, coaches, and teams with the critical information they need to make better informed decisions about training and performance,” says ORRECO CEO Brian Moore. The app, used by athletes from around the world, consumes structured and unstructured data from the latest scientific research and couples it with an athlete’s personal information such as behavioral data, travel diaries, and sleep patterns to create a customized training regimen.

With the use of cognitive technology, athletes can participate in programs designed to strike the right balance between load and recovery to decrease injury and sustain a healthy body. Just ask Serena Williams – she’ll tell you.

Optimize performance with data analytics

health-and-training1-500x281Team USA Cycling is also getting in on the cloud technology action. They’ve joined forces with IBM to incorporate real-time data analytics into their training programs.

In a sport defined by seconds, IBM technology has helped Team USA develop an application to pull precise, real-time rider data to better understand each rider’s performance, allowing cyclists to make on-the-spot adjustments during their training. This application is giving riders the maximum takeaway from each workout that can be accessed anytime, anywhere.

Track your progress and health

health-and-training3-500x202One training application I personally use is Runkeeper, which leverages IBM Cloudant technology to help me track my time, distance, and pace as I run. In 2015 I ran the Boston Marathon, which required me to log an incredible amount of miles throughout my 18-week training program. With the help of Runkeeper, not only was I able to track my mileage and time, but I could plan out the timing of my runs based on weather data and where I was going with suggested routes – all available in the app.

One of the other 50 million users of Runkeeper is Simon Wheatcroft, an uber-athlete/long distance runner who just so happens to be blind. With the help of IBM powered data, Runkeeper uses a combination of underfoot feedback, ambient noise, and audio cues to allow Simon to run independently without a guide. Take a look at Simon’s incredible story.

Health care organizations poised to benefit from cloud

So what does this mean for health care organizations that are looking to deliver quality and improved care to their customers? With the boom of the Internet of Things and its corresponding benefits for health care (remote patient diagnostic and monitoring, telehealth, and behavioral modification, to name a few) and the need to maintain low costs with quick results, the IBM Cloud Platform supplies innovative IoT and cognitive services to help you create customized healthcare applications.

Reimagine health care with the IBM cloud platform.

A version of this article originally appeared on the IBM developerWorks blog.

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