Smartphones are part of our everyday lives. More than seven in ten of our customers now own one. We know they can act like our personal assistants, taking our calls, text messages, informing us about the weather or upcoming meetings and social events.

But this integration into our everyday lives is now taking on a new role. According to new research Telstra commissioned to understand the role of technology in health and fitness, we’re now using our smartphones as pocket Personal Trainers (PTs).

We asked around 1,200 Aussies about how they use their smartphones to support their health and the results were surprising. Over a quarter of us use our smartphone as a pocket PT helping track fitness goals, improve their health and lose weight.

Of those of us using a smartphone as an exercise buddy, the Telstra Wearable Tech Index found:

  • More than a quarter (27 per cent) say the technology has helped them lose weight
  • More than half (55 per cent) confirm smartphones help us set goals and stay motivated
  • One in five (21 per cent) said they have changed the way they think about diet and exercise

This trend of integrating connected technology with fitness has been slowly growing for some time but was limited to fitness fanatics. I think this is about to change because wearable technology is about to go mainstream today in Australia with the launch of a new fitness band and smart watches from Samsung.

What’s wearable technology? Wearables are items of everyday clothing like a wrist band, jacket or watch that have a computer chip and sensors built in to collect data about the wearer or keep them informed. The emerging technology can keep us up-to-date with email and calendar notifications plus help us analyse our movement, sleep quality, heart rate, perspiration – even skin temperature.

Today wearables comprise health bands like the new Gear Fit and smart watches like the Gear 2 (both from Samsung) – but tomorrow might include smart socks that monitor the pressure we’re placing on parts of our feet (already in development) or connected ankle bands.

Combined with a smartphone (acting as a connected dashboard) they can create a more complete picture of our health and fitness. Given how much time many of us devote to staying fit, and our increasing focus on wellness, we expect lots of interest in wearable technology.

In fact, one of the most interesting findings from our research was that 30 per cent of Aussies are already interested in getting their hands on wearable technology that promotes health and wellbeing.

To cater for this interest we’re bringing the Samsung GALAXY S5 smartphone, the Gear Fit smart band and Gear 2 Neo smart watch to Telstra stores across the nation today. Given the strength and reach of our mobile network we reckon it’s the perfect complement for people using connected wearable tech on the move.

If you’re not already familiar with these gadgets you can check out our blog. You can also get hands-on with the technology by heading down to our stores today.

I’ve been using the Gear Fit for about a week. Not only has it prompted me to get active when I haven’t reached my daily fitness goal, but it’s been incredibly handy for keeping me on track with its calendar notifications.

Of course the Gear Fit and Gear 2 Neo are only the beginning and we’re anticipating some exciting additions to our wearable range down the track.

So what do you think? Can you see wearable technology becoming part of your daily life? What type of wearable tech has got you most excited?

Header picture L-R: NRL great Wendell Sailor, host of Healthy Me TV Shelly Horton , Winter Olympian “Chumpy” Pullin and Olympic baskeballer Liz Cambridge test out the Galaxy Gear at Telstra’s Sydney launch event.