by Benjamin Rhatigan.
Fitness is just the latest arena to be fully conquered by technological advances. With everyone glued to their smartphones these days, why not make them get a workout along with you? Here, we’ve come up with a few different ways Silicon Valley can help make your workout more enjoyable, productive, and safe.
Smart-everything is all the rage these days, but wearable tech can be a genuine boost when it comes to measuring the effectiveness of your workout, and your body’s response to it. Wearables are now the number one trend for fitness for 2017, this despite initial misgivings about the accuracy of the readings from many devices.
Wearables can measure basics such as GPS, foot-falls, altitude climbed (hello, stairs at work!), and distance covered, but more advanced features are being rolled out seemingly every week. Think: interval timers for HIIT workouts, guided breathing for those who love meditation, or even specialized trackers for tennis or weight-lifting.
That said, much improvement has been shown from many brands, including the Apple watch, and original-player FitBit. Don’t underestimate newcomers, as well, such as Spire, which does a great job of tracking breathing and activity in order to help reduce stress.
Remember though, while most of us are happy to shed a few pounds as part of our fitness regime, it’s important to focus as well on metrics such as building strength, endurance, and cardio fitness, and not just on weight loss. Think of it as a beneficial side effect, rather than the overarching goal.
Load Up On Some New Apps
Studies have shown that using apps as a supplement to organize your fitness plan can do wonders for your training. Cheaper than having a personal trainer, using an app to guide you and measure your progress can be an invaluable tool. There are dozens available on the market, but a short list here can give you an idea of the range of options:
- Nike+- this classic even fits in with some of their wearable clothing and is a perennial favorite
- Strava- turns running and cycling training into a social network where you can connect with other athletes
- Pact- if you’re feeling more competitive, Pact lets you put money on the table! The app helps you set up a program whereby if you don’t reach certain goals (e.g. eat healthy for a week), you have to pay out cold, hard cash to your network
- Charity Miles- this fantastic app allows the miles you run to be converted into charity donations, sponsored by brands like Johson&Johnson and Chobani
- Headspace- super popular for beginning meditators trying to get their head around (no pun intended!) meditation for the first time
Don’t forget your playlist (of videos!)
Let your smartphone guide your workout. It’s increasingly practical to incorporate your smartphone into your workout. Watching a YouTube video of how best to do certain exercises can keep you motivated and also help you avoid injury. Having a timer for that long plank can be helpful.
Take a few minutes before starting your workout to make sure your phone is fully loaded with the content you want- music playlist? Check. Inspirational podcast? Check. How-to videos? Good to go. Just take care not to drop your phone or get it wet!
Wear smart fabrics, smartly
Brands such as Under Armour, Nike, and Adidas spend millions every year testing their products to make sure they’re able to perform at their best, so take advantage of everything they’ve incorporated! Some characteristics to look for:
- Do you like the “feel” of the fabric? Texture, strength, density?
- Does it incorporate wicking technology to move perspiration away from your skin and keep you dry as you work up a sweat?
- Do you feel attractive? This one’s important- just because it’s high-tech gear doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice the appearance factor!
- Is it durable enough for your toughest workouts? The last thing you need is a loud seam rip as you’re settling down into that deep squat!