With the summer sun making an appearance, summer clothes being dug out of the wardrobe and thoughts turning to bikinis, our focus is turning to dropping dress sizes, battling bingo wings and choosing healthier options.
As with so many aspects of our life these days, technology has adapted to help us in our quest and potentially ease our pain points…although that’s debatable when considering my uphill biking battles recently..!
In the Gym
Of course technology has been helping improve fitness levels in gyms for years, in the form of bleep tests, treadmills, exercise bikes, rowing machines and many others. Online class reservations also make booking gym classes easier for members, instructors and operators, whilst virtual training and coaching is becoming a staple of the fitness world. Many clubs are using a mobile app as the liaison between trainers and members so that the experience of having a personal coach with them is simulated through their headphones.
Exergaming, whereby video games enable players to participate physically in active and interactive play against a computer or other players, has become big business and means keep-fitters don’t even need to leave their home – a blessing when trying to squeeze a quick work-out into a busy schedule, save some pennies or avoid juggling child-care in the evenings.
Out in the Open Air
Moving outdoors to make the most of the summer temperatures, GPS technology now allows the external exercisers to know precisely where they are, how fast they are moving, in what direction, and how to signal for help if necessary – all at the touch of a button.
Wearable technology, such as Fitbit, is becoming part of everyday life for adults and children, helping them reach health and fitness goals by tracking activity, exercise, sleep and weight.
Encouraging us to choose healthier options by monitoring our calorie intake and calories burnt, mobile apps such as MyFitnessPal have become very popular in helping with weight loss. As an aside, and particularly in light of the recent data breach suffered by MyFitnessPal, we would always advise you to use unique passwords for any sites and apps visited. Further advice on passwords can be read here.
My own first encounter with motivational technology when I started running a couple of years ago was with the aptly-named ‘Couch to 5k’ app. A soothing voice interrupted my uplifting Spotify playlist to encourage me to alternate walking for 10 mins with running for a heady 1 minute before gradually ramping it up. I then moved on to the ‘Couch to 10k’ app and, before I knew it, I was hooked on Strava, plotting my routes, checking my pace and giving like-minded friends ‘kudos’. It’s amazing what a bit of healthy competition can do for the spirit and, once you have a goal in mind, it’s surprisingly addictive to see your pace getting faster and that targeted distance becoming more achievable.
Of course, the likes of Strava have grown and adapted too so now, whether you’re hiking, cycling, canoeing or ice-skating, you can be sure to keep track of your progress, speed and calories burnt!
The GPS trackers, such as ‘Find Friends’ also have their uses, particularly if you’re supposedly exercising alongside someone who seems to have left you for dust(!) or, as I found out recently, if you’re practicing cycling loops with your children, whilst your husband runs a slightly different loop…but is the only one to have a house key…!
Social media has had a big motivational impact in recent years, encouraging friends and family to sign up and share different events. Colour runs, dance classes, muddy mayhem, outdoor military-style training sessions, paddle-board Pilates…whatever you’re into, you will no doubt find a nearby session being shared on social media.
In fact, having just completed a very hilly 30-mile charity bike ride, I’m now on the look-out for the next challenge – could it be London to Brighton later in the year or should I go for the hopefully flatter Palace to Palace route, taking in the beautiful sights from Buckingham Palace to Windsor Castle?? Now, let me just see what my friends are signing up to first..!
So, after all this fabulous exercise, it may well be time to track your progress, update your apps and step on the scales – eeek!
A friend of mine was recently somewhat surprised to open a parcel containing some digital electronic bathroom scales which measure your weight, water fat and muscle mass, and calculate the body-mass index before handily (?) sending the data to you so you can keep track.
This friend was even more surprised (read ‘somewhat put out’!) when she realised these scales were in fact a present from her husband for their anniversary!! Ooops! Ah well, perhaps it just shows how much he loves her – and technology! ?
So, whatever activity you fancy trying out and however you fancy tracking your triumphs, technology can definitely support you in your success.
Best of luck and just imagine how fabulous you will feel next time you’re relaxing on the beach in your bathers!
Just one question…will you be wearing your waterproof Fitbit to measure the speed of your front crawl??