The new year often comes with fresh resolutions and the stark realization that our devil-may-care festive lifestyles can carry ramifications for our fitness as we descend back into our daily routines.
The problem with Christmas Pudding and Yule Log is that they’re very morish. While Christmas indulgence is always extremely enjoyable, it has a habit of leaving us with more of a challenge on our hands if we resolve to get ourselves in shape for the return of the summer months.
Google Trends shows us that interest in the term ‘gym membership’ reaches fever pitch in January of each year – but is it really beneficial for us to choose to commit to joining a gym?
Gyms help us to get in shape, but the costs and lifestyle changes involved can leave customers feeling too uncomfortable to continue long into their membership. Luckily, technology has presented us with some exciting – and less intrusive – alternatives. Let’s take a deeper look at the role fitness tech can play in keeping us healthy:
When it comes to innovations in fitness wearables, it’s hard to look past Fitbit as the company that’s made the biggest splash in recent times.
While the Apple Watch is capable of some impressive performance in monitoring our health, Fitbit’s price and accuracy make it ideal for anyone looking to use technology to live a healthier lifestyle.
Fitbit is capable of monitoring heart rates as well as supplying users with over 15 incentive-based exercise modes.
The beauty of Fitbit is that it allows us to not only exercise but track our progress anywhere in the world. While can be tricky to find the motivation we need to get outside and have a run, Fitbit allows us to set goals and focus our ambitions on beating our best times.
While gym memberships can cost a small fortune on a monthly basis, the cheapest Fitbit available on the company’s official website is £49 at the time of writing – with older models purchasable online for less.
If there was ever a gateway drug into the world of running, it would be Strava. The free app, downloadable on both iOS and Android, accurately measures your runs, walks, or cycling sessions. You can add your friends and share heatmaps of the paths you take and the pace you kept along the way.
One of the biggest problems when it comes to regular exercise stems from a lack of motivation. For many of us, there’s no better way to stay enthusiastic than through a dose of friendly competition.
With Strava you can enter challenges and win some freebies along the way. But there’s no bigger incentive than seeing your friend post a faster pace over three miles than you. The accompanying heatmaps have even led to some users getting a little creative and drawing pictures with the paths they take.
The beauty of Strava is the fact that the app can be downloaded for free to your mobile phone – meaning no memberships or hardware to buy into before you even break into a sweat.
Couch to 5k
Podcasts are also making in-roads in the world of health and fitness. The NHS’ Couch to 5K podcast helps to give people who are struggling to find the time to exercise a program that can be followed in weekly steps.
The podcast is available from both iTunes and Google Play stores and British celebrities like Jo Wiley, Sarah Millican, Sanjeev Kohli and Michael Johnson can be selected to play the role of your coach via the show’s dedicated app.
Both the podcast and the accompanying smartphone app are free to use and come in the form of a nine-week training program.
MyFitnessPal is an application that takes the monitoring of health and fitness to a new level. Not only does this app keep an eye on your exercise in the form of steps taken and distance covered, it also aims to provide insights into your eating habits too.
With the use of a built-in food diary, users can scan the food they buy and store healthy recipes to ensure that they can manage all aspects of their efforts to get in shape for the summer.
Digital directories are important these days, there’s a wide world of fitness out there, and regardless of the technology you’re using, it can be difficult to commit to working out on your own. Luckily, there are plenty of solutions on-hand to help you find your calling in the health and fitness world.
Vast online directories like Get Into Martial Arts, for example, can show you a list of all your local martial arts classes and even offer free sample sessions to see if it’s right for you. If you’ve always been tempted to get into Taekwondo, or feel like Judo may be your calling, you can be sure that you’ll find a class near you.
There are hundreds of ways to get in shape for the summer months, and while going to the gym can be an expensive and arduous experience, there’s an array of technology on hand to help add an element of convenience into your search for an exercise plan that’s right for you. With all the help on hand, there’s no need to feel blue.