Getting fit doesn't have to be a chore, there are plenty of ways that you can work some exercise into your daily routine and have some fun as well. Here are a few ways that technology can help you stay active and healthy.
Exercise is great. Getting up and moving around can increase blood flow, release endorphins as well as strengthen your heart and lungs. Researchers at Melbourne University have even shown that looking at living, green things can help increase your productivity and attention span.
But all the running shoe ads and discount gym memberships in the world might not be enough to get you out for even 30 minutes per day.
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The good thing is, technology is on our side here. Developers from around the world have been thinking up ways to make exercise more exciting, more engaging and more approachable for the everyday Australian.
With that in mind, here are some ideas for tech and apps to help you get out and explore the world at your own pace.
Personal trainers make a living motivating people, they can help manage your exercise, your diet and your lifestyle. But not everyone has time for the gym or the money for a personal trainer. The solution could be getting a virtual trainer.
Fitness sections in mobile app stores are some of the most extensive, offering everything from tracking software to virtual running coaches. Here are a few to look at:
- Fitbit: Fitbits are a pretty common piece of hardware these days, but what many people might not realise is that you can still use the software without the hardware. Whether you have a Fitbit wristband or not, you can download the app and use it to measure your steps, distance, sleep, weight and more just by using the in-built functionality of your smartphone.
- Runtastic Pro: If you’re looking for a coaching app, the paid version of Runtastic (there is a free version too) offers voice feedback, music player integration as well as race training features. A number of popular training apps operate on a subscription model, making them comparable to a gym membership, but the one-off payment here makes it more viable for those just starting out.
Exercise isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but music is one of the most likely options to help you push harder. Studies have shown how adding music to your workout can boost performance by up to 15 per cent and it can be a great distraction. Here are some ways that you can help your body work harder by keeping your brain occupied:
- Spotify: As with the above example, music can be a great first option as almost everyone has a music player and a pair of headphones. Other studies have suggested that different tempos help your body work in time with the beat, so choose the song that suits your activity, and keep an eye out for popular workout mixes. Spotify is also partnered with Runkeeper to suggest songs that match your running tempo.
- Podcasts and audio books: Exercise for the sake of fitness can be hard to justify if you aren’t seeing the results right away. One option is to give yourself another goal and exercise at the same time. Pick a podcast on astrophysics or an audiobook on the French revolution to work your mind and body at the same time. Or distract yourself from real-world pain with a fictional world like Westeros.
If you don’t get the enjoyment out of an afternoon run that everyone says you should, there’s no shortage of apps that can help you get out and about. These are just a few ideas of the smart phone apps that give you a game to play while you exercise.
- Pokémon GO: In 2016 Pokémon GO took the world by storm. The app had over 25 million users at the highest point and an overwhelming number of users talking about how it helped them cope with depression, anxiety and more.
- Zombies, Run!: This augmented reality game tracks your movements and gives you an audio novel style experience about the end of the world. If you’re into The Walking Dead, this game will have you exploring your neighbourhood after a zombie apocalypse and collecting supplies for your group of survivors.
- Pact: This app plays on the competitive side of most friendships, encouraging you to join up in pairs or groups and agree to a challenge. You put down real money as a wager to stick to and agree to run 2km or do 60 push ups and the winner gets fitter while their wallet gets fatter. The app boasts a 95% success rate for challenges, which is pretty huge.