Nova Scotia

Nova Scotia companies help athletes measure body metrics

Some exciting work is being done in Nova Scotia on body metrics to allow pro athletes and weekend warriors alike to up their game.

Modern technology is making it easier to know more about your body and your training

CBC reporter Colleen Jones has her body metrics tested at the Kinesic Sport Lab in Halifax with company director Jeff Zahavich. (CBC)

The use and affordability of wearable fitness devices has spawned a large interest among the general population who want to know how much they are moving, how fast and how far.

These tracking devices have long been used by Olympians and professional athletes. But thanks to apps and watches, it's easy for people from all walks of life to learn more about body metrics.

And for Nova Scotians, there's also some pretty high-tech analysis going on right in their own backyard that can help them up their game.

Here's some examples:

Kinesic Sport Lab

The small Halifax gym run by Jeff Zahavich is all about body metrics. Using your own bike at the facility, you can get hooked up to a computer that will spit out instant data, such as watts being generated, your heart rate and cadence. 

Zahavich even runs a 14-week "Tour de Hell" where everyone bikes simultaneously on the giant screen and the metrics are displayed.

"What I love about metrics is just how real time it is. We can actually measure what you're doing right now instead of having to wait afterwards," said Zahavich.

"We can then use the metrics to provide feedback to the athlete to change form, change technique right then and you see immediate results." 

Kinduct Technologies

The Nova Scotia high-tech company specializes in data and its software can assess, analyze and measure the body metric numbers as they apply to different sports.

The company's software is cornering the market for professional major league sports teams. This week, it signed baseball's Minnesota Twins, but the company is already working with pro teams such as the Montreal Canadiens, Toronto Blue Jays and Los Angeles Dodgers.

Travis McDonough, the president of Kinduct Technologies, says bringing this data to the general population is the next step.

"This is going to be applicable for the weekend warrior or the fitness consumer or the person with osteoarthritis in the knee or with a chronic disease like Type 2 diabetes," he said.

Canadian Sport Centre Atlantic

Right next to the weight machine at the Canadian Sport Centre Atlantic facility in the Canada Games Centre in Clayton Park is a computer program churning out the body metrics of athletes. Nutrition and sleep are also measured and that data is put into the program. 

Erin Rafuse is a sailor working to land a spot in this summer's Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. All the data helps her train more efficiently.

"Eventually, you can narrow it down to what works and what doesn't in your program," she said.

Trainers are able to quickly interpret the data to make sure Rafuse is on target.

Olympians have always used metrics to measure how training is going and how it relates to performance, but measuring tools have improved as sports science takes training to another level.

Don't ignore the data

When it comes to data, once you gather it, don't just ignore it. The numbers matter if you spend time interpreting them.

"Simply gathering metrics does not result in behaviour change alone," said Leo Thornley, director of sport science at Canadian Sport Centre Atlantic. 

"There needs to be goals and objectives that make sense and are doable that result in the formation of new health habits."

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

World champion curler Colleen Jones has been reporting with CBC News for nearly three decades. Follow her on Twitter @cbccolleenjones.

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