It’s September and, with kids returning to school, it seems timely to infuse our fitness routines with fresh, cutting-edge exercise and nutrition aids. Let’s harness the power of technology. Here’s a tiny sampling of what’s out there.
For the Technically-Challenged
Many pedometers ($15-30) and heart monitors ($25-100) can be worn as a watch or armband and track your movements throughout the day. This type of device need not have much more than an on/off button and clock feature. But even the simplest of tracking tools have been proven to help motivate people to start moving and keep moving.
Some examples (with links) include pedometer (Omron), watch pedometer (Smart Health), and heart rate monitor (Polar). If you enjoy interval training, the Gymboss Interval Timer and Stopwatch makes keeping track of your high and low intervals a snap.
For Smartphone Users
The number of fitness-based apps is dizzying. I recommend deciding exactly what you need an app to do for you and then do a little research to find the best app for that task available on your phone. Most are free or under $5.
PC Mag published a list of their 25 top fitness apps for 2017. Here are their top five:
- MyFitnessPal: Tracks nutrition/calorie intake & is compatible with many fitness trackers
- Johnson & Johnson Official 7 Minute Workout: The epitome of anywhere/anytime workouts
- FIT Radio: A go-to app for those wanting quick access to workout music
- Strava: Running and cycling app for those with a competitive streak
- Charity Miles: For those motivated by charity fitness challenges
If you’re looking for less of a DIY feel than most free apps offer, you could consider a subscription based app such as the Daily Burn which offers an extensive library of workout videos for streaming.
Trending right now are personal trainer-client matching apps, such as GymGo. Prospective clients can peruse trainer profiles to select an ideal fit in fitness philosophy and scheduling compatibility. All training is led by licensed, insured fitness professionals via live two-way video conferencing.
For Gadget Lovers
They can track not only workouts and daily steps but sleep quantity and quality as well. Some allow the user to input daily calorie intake to give her monitoring control over every aspect of her fitness. These are pricier than a standard pedometer or heart-rate monitor, but there’s a greater range of price points available on wearables compared to when they first burst onto the fitness scene.
They aren’t perfect, however. They often are inaccurate and some types of workouts, such as strength training, are difficult, if not impossible, for a wearable device to record. If you’re interested in a wearable tracking device, do your homework before purchasing.
Tech Radar just announced the top five wearables for 2017:
- Samsung Gear Sport
- Fitbit Ionic
- Garmin Vivoactive 3
- Fossil Q Venture
- Samsung Gear Fit 2 Pro
Click here for Tech Radar’s full article and list of runners up.
Yes, technology can sometimes be an obstacle to fitness – particularly when we consider how much time we spend sitting on our duffs consuming it. But technology can also help us reach fitness goals in ways that weren’t possible before. It’s not an exaggeration to say that new gadgets and apps are coming out every day that can make a positive impact on our quests to be fit. Really, the most difficult part of this month’s Small Step is deciding which tech tool will work best for you. So, this month, I challenge you to find one that speaks to you and give it a try.
If you’re new to the Small Steps series, you can read about the philosophy and strategies of the series here. Know the Small Steps strategies don’t need to be done in any particular order and are independent of one another. So, you can begin the series with this post, continue throughout the rest of the year and pick up what you missed next year.
Previous Small Steps posts: January’s Portion Control, February’s Plan Ahead, March’s Accentuate the Positives, Eliminate the Negatives, April’s Substitutions, May’s Go Old School, June’s +1, July’s Reflect, Revamp & Renew, August’s Sleep Your Way to Fit.