How Technology Can Help You Stay Active at Home
We’re currently facing unprecedented times with billions of people globally now living under some form of a lockdown. Governments around the world have imposed strict restrictions on movement and social contact in order to keep citizens safe and try to deteriorate the impact of Coronavirus.
With many of us spending more time at home, it can be easy to fall out of the habit of exercising daily; however, practising some form of exercise each day is essential to keep our body and mind healthy.
As gyms close their doors, there are other alternative ways to stay active while at home thanks to technology.
Perhaps the most obvious source of fitness inspiration is YouTube. A lot of fitness trainers and influencers have turned to the video streaming platform to host Livestream workouts. You will also find a lot of pre-recorded classes on there – from bodyweight workouts to yoga.
If you haven’t done yoga before but have always wanted to try, now could be a good time to start. Yoga with Adrienne videos is a great way to ease into yoga as the sessions are designed to be slow and gentle. The routines are particularly easy to follow, with the instructor guiding you through what to do step-by-step.
The Body Coach TV is another good channel to follow, where personal trainer Joe Wicks uploads free home workouts designed for everyone, no matter their fitness level and age. With mountain climbers, squats and jumping jacks, these workouts are designed to keep your heart rate up!
A lot of gyms and personal trainers (PTs) have turned to Instagram Live to broadcast their workouts. All you need to do is download the Instagram app on your device (smartphone or tablet), register or sign in if you already have an account with the social media platform, and follow one of the gyms or PTs who do live sessions. For example, FLY LDN, Peloton and Australian fitness brand F45 are all live-streaming some of their classes on Instagram Live.
There are many fitness apps available on Apple’s App Store and Google’s Play Store to download on your smartphone or tablet. A lot of PTs and Instagram influencers have released their own apps, which usually have a 7-day free trial period, following which you usually have to pay a monthly or yearly subscription fee. There are also free apps available which you can try out, for example:
- The Nike Training Club (NTC) app offers a vast library of minimal equipment workouts provided by qualified and experienced trainers. You can create a personal plan that guides you while adjusting to your progress, schedule and other activities. The app is free to use, and you get access to four 4-6 weeks of training plans.
- Running and other forms of aerobic training have been associated with a wide range of physical and mental health benefits. Furthermore, a study published in the European Health Journal found that running slows signs of cellular ageing. So, if you’re a keen runner, or would like to become one, Couch to 5K could be a good app to download. The app has been developed by a newbie runner, Josh Clark, who wanted to help his 50-something mum get off the couch and start running, too. The plan involves three runs a week for nine weeks in total, with a rest day in between and a different schedule for each of the weeks. The Couch to 5K app is endorsed by England’s National Health Service (NHS).
- Want to train like a celebrity? Hollywood star Chris Hemsworth, who launched his own fitness app Centr last summer, has now made it free to use for six weeks, to try to help people keep fit and healthy while self-isolating amid the coronavirus pandemic. The app features content from Hemsworth’s own health and fitness team that consists of renowned experts in the field. So, if you want to train (and look like) Thor, this could be a good app to follow.
Many of us now own wearable devices such as smart watches and fitness trackers, so now is a great time to use them as our helpful workout guides. They can track the distance when you’re running, monitor your heart rate and alert you if you need to slow down or take a break. Here’s how to make the most of your wearable device while you train, if you own one of the following:
- Apple Watch – There are a number of workouts you can use to track your exercise with the Workout app on the Apple Watch. You need to find the one that is best suitable to do at home and set a goal by tapping the More button next to the workout you want to do. You can also monitor your progress during the activity you’ve chosen. To see how you’re getting on, raise your wrist, then turn the Digital Crown to highlight the metric that’s most important to you. The Workout app is designed to enhance the data collected when you’re training. When you log in a session, the app ‘tells’ the Watch to turn on the continuous heart rate monitor as well as the accelerometer and GPS (depending on the type of workout you’ve chosen).
- Samsung Gear Sport – This watch comes equipped with a calorie counter where you can keep track of your daily intake and compare this against your weekly goals. This is useful as we tend to eat more than usual when staying at home, so being able to regulate our calorie intake is important. The watch also offers tips and insights that you can use to stay on track.
- Garmin – The advanced workout feature in Garmin allows you to plan and create a personalised home workout that conforms to your specific training goals and targets. To do so, you need to download the Garmin Connect app on your device (laptop, smartphone or tablet). Once you’ve built your fitness exercise plan on the app, you need to send it to the Garmin watch and you’re good to go!
- Fitbit – Similarly to the other wearable devices we’ve just discussed, Fitbit has an Exercise app that allows you to track your workouts. Most devices automatically track more basic exercises, but the Exercise app allows you to choose the option that best matches your activity. You can also use the Fitbit Coach app, which is a paid subscription app available with Fitbit Premium. Here’s how to use this app: once you’ve downloaded it from the Apple App Store, Google Play Store or Microsoft Store, you need to create your Fitbit account. When you log in, choose your trainer and take the Fit Test which will rate the difficulty of each move to help you personalise your workouts. After you complete the Fit Test, choose a workout to start exercising at home.
Staying fit while gaming
If you want a workout that’s a bit more fun and exciting you should try the Nintendo Switch Ring Fit Adventure, which is part of the Nintendo console. The Ring-Con is the main bit of equipment, and you interact with a lot of the game by either squeezing or pulling on it. This bit of hardware also functions as your main tracker, meaning the game can follow your movements. The Ring Fit Adventure finds your character going through different stages, sprinting through the levels, blasting things, and fighting enemies — all while you’re hunting down the game‘s main villain. And when it comes to fighting the enemy, you can choose an exercise such as squats, presses and other activities, and undertake it to vanquish them.
So, there you have it – a few ways to use the technologies you have available in order to stay active at home. Have we missed anything? Let us know in the comments below.
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