The technology boom has recently improved many areas of our lives. But, it’s not just cool, gimmick gadgets or boring office gear – fitness technology and health devices are fast becoming our faithful companions in everyday life.
Whether it’s a daily online yoga class when you get in the door from work or school or the fitness tracker you wear nearly constantly, the accessible world of fitness and health technology is now an important part of most people’s lives. And whether you like competing with your friends or working out in your own home’s privacy, there’s a fitness option to suit you.
More people track their fitness using wearable gadgets
Once upon a time, no-one was sure if the mobile phone would catch on. These big, clunky, expensive things were strictly for health emergencies, but Snake and Munkiki were also quite fun if you got stuck in a waiting room.
In a way, the world of portable technology is still the same today. Today’s wearable smartwatch fitness trackers let you keep an eye on your heart rate and step count but also let you have a good time competing with colleagues or friends to see who can get the most activity that week. At home or out and about, it’s an easy way to get a good overall picture of your health.
The pandemic means more people are keeping fit from home
We all know that the COVID-19 pandemic has brought about lifestyle changes that are here to stay. People who used to pay thousands for their yearly gym membership (whether or not they used it) are now keeping fit in the comfort of their own homes.
During the lockdown, many bought equipment they knew they would use and enjoy, like dumbbells, resistance bands, or even rowing machines and treadmills. The rise of Zoom and online classes also meant that you had no excuse for not attending a group workout! Many people are still attending these online classes today. We were all forced to think about how we really wanted to keep fit.
New state-of-the-art equipment is now available at home
If you’re a gym bunny, you might have noticed the equipment in your favorite gym getting upgraded now and then with LED displays, speakers, touchscreen controls, and Bluetooth pairing. But did you know that you have access to these bells and whistles at home, too?
Home gym equipment has come on a bit since the Nintendo Wii. Portable options, like Fitbit or Garmin fitness trackers, now have full-colour touchscreens, cameras, and tiny speakers to keep you motivated as you jog through breathtaking scenery or around the street. At home, exercise bikes and elliptical trainers feature complete entertainment systems so that you can catch up on your soaps and fitness goals at the same time.
More people are using VR to get a workout
Okay, some aspects of virtual reality technology are still in the fledgling stage. But you can’t deny that VR headsets have come a long way since Google’s flimsy Cardboard in 2014!
Virtual reality apps are a great option if you want an introductory foray into trying a new sport without all the danger, travelling, and expenses. Available on the Oculus headset, Cross Country Skiing, Vigorous Biking, Singles Tennis, and Running up Stairs are all as realistic and self-explanatory as you’d imagine.
Even games you wouldn’t expect to be a workout, like Beat Saber, can get surprisingly sweaty as the BPM ramps up!
From the advertising so far, Meta’s new Quest headset looks like it will have health and fitness as a priority. With one ad featuring a bored woman following a low-octane workout video on her laptop before being too happy to dive headfirst into Meta’s brand-new colorful world of a fun exercise, the Quest may be one of the first fitness-centred headsets when it launches. That said, the old faithful Cardboard VR jogging and cycling videos on YouTube are still great.
Artificial Intelligence is paving the way
The term that’s been a buzzword for decades, Artificial Intelligence is always said to be the future of healthcare, education, or even the planet in general. But AI is the future of technology, after all. If the rise of this concept is already helping with diagnosis and organization, think about what it will soon do for home fitness. You could get a workout personalized to exactly what you need on that day, for example.
Artificial intelligence already helps people keep fit at home through some apps. For example, the app SuperCook aims to reduce food waste by coming up with AI-generated recipes featuring the food you have in your fridge.
The app uses artificial intelligence to determine how much of each ingredient to add for the perfect flavour. The app may not cater to every dietary restriction or preference, such as low carb, low sugar or allergies, but you can’t deny it’s an exciting idea!
Voice assistants are helping people work out
Have you got an Alexa Echo Dot at home? Or are you more of a die-hard Google fan? Even if you just use Siri or Google Assistant on your phone, you can’t deny how convenient voice assistants are. Whether you use your voice assistant to play music as you work out, distract you from the burn with games and quizzes, or set or try out workout-specific voice commands like “Give me a workout idea”, your home voice assistant is gaining more and more ways to help you stay fit at home.
If this wasn’t enough, voice assistants like Siri and Alexa are also added to some new home workout equipment.
If you’re a user of Google Assistant, why not link them to a fitness tracker app like Google Fit? This way, they can keep you abreast of how you’re doing with your fitness goals. The Google Assistant even integrates with third-party apps like Nike Coach or Fitbit. Or, if you use Alexa, try favorite apps like Easy Yoga, Easy Meditation, or The Body Coach.
A decent, inexpensive speaker that can help you use other smart devices in your home and also doubles as your home fitness coach? A smart speaker isn’t the worst fitness equipment to have lying around.
Home workout videos have risen in popularity
More and more people are watching workout videos. No, we’re not talking about those lycra-clad big-hair movies from the 80s. Instead, there are workout videos for everyone on YouTube.
Lockdowns have meant fitness instructors and bodybuilders had to get creative with their fitness regime if they wanted to keep working. So, what did they do? Well, many instructors became content creators!
With a tripod and smartphone, fitness instructors began making videos featuring easy exercises anyone could do at home. And they did – millions of views later, YouTube fans are still watching, checking out the latest video as soon as it is released. So, there are fitness videos for everyone, whether you’re a child, aspiring bodybuilder, dance enthusiast, or yogi.
Fitness apps are keeping track
You can’t quantify everything precisely, but you can try. Many people like to keep track of their step count and find great fitness apps like Google Fit, Samsung Health, or Apple Health. However, they can also do so much more than this.
If you’ve ever wanted to know more about the nutrition of a particular food or how many calories you eat every day, My Fitness Pal lets you do this. With a built-in barcode scanner, simply take a photo of the foods you eat, and My Fitness Pal will show you all the data.
You can see how much of each nutrient you got and plan what to eat more of tomorrow. My Fitness Pal is great for meeting dietary goals. You can even link the app to your Facebook account to see what your friends are doing. Samsung Health also has similar features.
Then there are apps like Fitbit Coach. Though mainly for keeping track of your fitness data, Fitbit Coach offers a range of workouts. These exercises can be as short as 7 minutes to as long as an hour! As your Coach, Fitbit Coach also offers appropriate exercises based on your daily Fitbit activity.
The Play Store and App Store are awash with similar 30 Day Squat Challenge and Flat Abs 1 Week apps – but these apps are less trustworthy. They can have undesirable permissions and lack security.
People are digging out old reliable
Okay, so we kind of ragged on the Wii. But if this is what works for you to keep fit, we’re all for it! With several fun games, including very high-octane Boxing, Wii Sports is a form of cardio. The game has remained so popular that Nintendo is bringing it out again on the Switch.