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Smart Textiles: Maximizing inclusion in sport

Wearable technologies come in many forms and are usually classified as smart electronic devices that are worn on or near the skin to detect and transmit vital information about the body, such as: B. Vital signs and environmental data. From activity and fitness trackers to sensors, wearables can help people make more informed lifestyle choices, increase productivity, and support healthcare.

Smart Textiles: Maximizing inclusion in sport.

Photo credit: Shutterstock.com/DisobeyArt

As part of an initiative developed by the University of Exeter and KYMIRA Sport, developments in advanced wearable technology can help older women stay active and continue exercising later in life. The technology includes leggings equipped with novel sensors that can track and record movements during sports and training, and insoles for training shoes to measure and report pressure and force.

The insoles are being developed by research partner CPI, who will provide additional data on the potential risk of injury, which would be extremely useful for those looking to continue exercising later in life – particularly women over 50.

Project MISFIT

The Maximizing Inclusiveness in Sports through Female-centric Innovation and Technology (MISFIT) project hopes to maximize inclusion in sports by keeping women active longer. Although regular exercise and an active lifestyle are known to be good for physical and mental health, women’s aging is not well supported.

While many people remain locked out of the main benefits of an active athletic lifestyle, women are 3% less likely than men to be physically active. Additionally, women aged 55-74 are 8% less likely than those aged 16-34 to be active – and this rises to 30% for those aged 75 and over.

Therefore, this project is motivated by data showing that the number of women involved in sport tends to decrease after the age of 50, as does the amount of physical activity they practice.

The MISFIT project is about empowering women and giving them the confidence to continue exercising in old age.

dr Sharon Dixon, University of Exeter

In particular, a lack of understanding of activity behavior and the lack of gender and age-specific shoes hinder inclusion,” She added.

Therefore, the wearable technology developed within the MISFIT project aims to address four main priorities to encourage women to stay active and participate in sport and exercise later in life.

focal points

Wearables incorporating novel sensors will address the following key areas of focus: facilitating self-monitoring before, during and after exercise to provide appropriate training data and prevent injuries; provide data-driven support to healthcare professionals such as doctors and physical therapists, and other fitness professionals; enable the collection of extensive data to improve knowledge of women’s biomechanics and ultimately inform the design and development of future wearable technologies and shoes for women wishing to participate in a multisport activity.

Overall, MISFIT aims to encourage women to exercise and stay active as they age without fear of pain or injury, and to provide the well-known benefits of strenuous and sustained physical activity for health, happiness and mental well-being.

dr Sharon Dixon, University of Exeter

The project will run over a 2 year period and is funded by UK Analysis and Innovation (UKRI) as part of the Healthy Ageing problem. The goal is to create new knowledge and expertise, supported by laboratory evaluations and motion capture programs, to optimize the novel sensors and make suggestions regarding the essential elements needed to further develop and improve smart textiles and wearable technologies required are.

Therefore, the MISFIT project could offer women a better chance not only to remain active later in life, but also to improve the physical, psychological and social conditions of older women and help to level and diversify the competitive environment in sport.

References and further reading

Exeter.ac.uk. (2022) What’s new on the homepage – Experts develop wearable technology to help women stay active into old age – University of Exeter. [online] Available at: https://www.exeter.ac.uk/news/homepage/title_919369_en.html

(2021) Active Lives Adult Survey Report 2020/21. [ebook] Sports England. Available at: https://sportengland-production-files.s3.eu-west-2.amazonaws.com/s3fs-public/2021-04/Active%20Lives%20Adult%20November%202019-20%20Report.pdf?VersionId =OjWdwCLnI3dNgDwp3X4ukcODJIDVG7Kd

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