With all the mental stresses that came with life in 2020 – including gym closings – many found it difficult to return to normal exercise. Here, at The edgeWe did this as expected: with technologies that could enable or motivate us to take action. These are the devices, apps, games, and services that have made us work up a sweat while still safe, and that may come in handy if your New Year’s resolution involves exercise.
I’ve named Hit Saber my Favorite game of 2018, but I’ve fallen heavily since then until Oculus released Quest 2 in October. It is the first VR headset I. how to wearand i used SideQuest to add custom bootleg tracks to aid my embarrassingly narrow musical tastes and turn my quest into an almost one-sided beat sabering machine. (I probably owe Muse and the New Pornographers royalties or something? See, I really like the unofficial expert beatmap on The Mary Martin Show.) Pros: I remember having a body again. Con: I see Ok go Stuck in my head every morning. – – Adi Robertson
Nike Training Club and Reddit
I was a Nike Training Club User for a while now, but this year I needed it more than ever when my bike path disappeared and my step count dropped. Nike’s app has a collection of workouts that you can filter based on how much gear you have available, how much time you have, whether you’re looking for a strength or cardio workout, and so on. This year my filters were “none”, “all the time in the world” and “I’ll take what I can get”.
What I like best is how easy most workouts are, which leaves me the freedom to ease the boredom of exercising by listening to podcasts while I work out. Instead of having to listen to the motivational tidbits of a personal trainer in addition to the instructions, the Nike app mainly shows simple loop videos for each exercise and lets my thoughts go free. (The app also has more traditional training videos, but they have never clicked with me.)
At the beginning of the year I also benefited a lot from exercising as a group with my roommates. Here, the routine Developed by Reddit’s Bodyweight Fitness Community was priceless. It includes strength exercises that you can do with minimal equipment and different variations to suit the difficulty. While it doesn’t take much to get started, we found that adding a chin-up bar, gymnastics rings, and resistance bands was a relatively inexpensive way to give us a lot more exercise options. – – Jon Porter
While I usually limit my social media habit to Twitter, one of my early strategies for staying active while staying at home was collecting posts from home exercises Instagram’s Saved Posts feature. Fitness coaches have always shared some content on Instagram, but the gym and gym closings brought a plethora of free guided workouts to the app. It’s not Pinterest, but my collection of saved posts allows me to have simple exercises on hand and removes one of my many excuses for not moving: I rarely know what I’m doing when I’m exercising.
I fell off my Instagram health kick over the year, but I still collect and sort exercise posts. Of course there are fewer physical benefits, but I still find it very comforting. – – Ian Campbell
The Garmin Fenix 6X
I know I find fate tempting when I say this, but my fitness has improved dramatically during the pandemic. I was motivated by boredom and, to be honest, by fear of dying, but also by an all-rounder Garmin Fenix 6X Pro solar watch. It also helped my local government promoting safe, socially distant outdoor fitness activities rather than strict home stays.
Before fitness equipment sold out on Amazon and beyond, I managed to get a bunch of pieces of equipment together adjustable resistance bands I had read on wire cutter and a luxurious pair of weighted skipping ropes from Crossrope. I worked with these items almost every day during March and April while my home was confiscated. The Garmin watch automatically tracked my pushups and bicep curls well, but was far less able to detect other movements and, for example, couldn’t track my crossrope sessions miserably. Crossrope makes an app with paid membership levels, but found it redundant for my needs. While not quite at the level of a pro boxer, I’ve managed to perfect various jumping skills like crossovers, doubles, and a variety of jumps to keep the repetition interesting.
I also took up yoga at this time to maintain my sanity and flexibility. While the Fenix 6 can walk you through animated yoga sessions, as an absolute beginner I found it impractical and annoying to keep peeking at my wrist to study pose mechanics. YouTube is a much better living room coach. I finished Kassandra’s 30 Day Challenge ((Adriene is too talkative for me) and yoga is now part of my normal routine.
When spring came, I ran outside through the beautiful, tourist-free streets and parks of Amsterdam. This is where the Garmin watch excelled. I was motivated to run faster and longer with Garmin’s PacePro feature to incorporate my Spotify playlist, real-time coaching, and turn-by-turn navigation into my AirPods Pro earbuds. I soon got addicted to setting new personal records and lowering my fitness age in competition with my running friends who prefer Garmin watches over everything else.
Until the summer, I used the Garmin Fenix 6 to track my kitesurfing sessions, full day bike rides, and open water swimming in the ocean. I started golfing in the fall, motivated by Garmin’s formidable ability to track every shot played on hundreds of golf courses around the world. The Fenix 6 isn’t accurate enough to track putts, but it does an amazing job of tracking every shot from tee to green so you can measure the club’s performance, hold points and see trends after each round .
The Fenix 6 has proven to be a jack-of-all-trades and master of a few, motivating me to try new activities like mountain biking to see how it adapts. After nine months of intense and continuous use, the watch now says my fitness age is 20 years. As a 53-year-old obsessed with gadgets trying to survive a virus, I’m proud of it. – – Thomas Ricker
The Apple Watch, Nintendo Games and Fitbod
When I got an Apple Watch in November 2019, there were two things I wasn’t expecting: the impending pandemic that would make it impossible to hit the gym, and how well the gamified rings system would work for me. The desire to fill each ring every day (which I did, thank you) made it so that at least I got up every day and walked around my apartment.
I also managed to find a copy of Wii Sports Resort at a local game store so I didn’t have to pay the eBay scalper prices that started popping up in March (Hardcore gamers weren’t the only ones looking into this). It’s not exactly what I would call a workout, but it’s fun and gets my wife and me off the couch. I would rather play Hit Saber? Yeah, but couldn’t get my hands on the VR rig I wanted this year. That’s on the list for 2021, As soon as we can find PC hardware again.
For a Nintendo game that indeed offers a workout that I have turned to Ring Fit Adventure. I took it to the highest level and immediately regretted it … but it was worth it to get my way and I feel like I actually trained. It’s not the heartbeat and sweating everywhere I’ve worked out from YouTube workout videos or Apple Fitness Plus, but I’m usually sore the next day.
While I wouldn’t call adjustable dumbbells “tech,” I paired mine with the Fitbod app, which tracks your exercises and creates sets based on which muscle groups are fresh. Combined with the fact that I now have a full set of weights that actually fit in a small apartment, I now train more strength than ever at the gym. – – Mitchell Clark
I went into the pandemic with the best of intentions and a bunch of gadgets: a VR headset with exercise games, a motorized standing desk, a really good racing bike, a smartwatch, even a bunch of relatively new power tools (blade blowers, hedge trimmers, pressure washers), then I bought with the intention of cleaning up the yard.
Instead, I became an absolute couch potato for the duration of the year.
Maybe I would have used the standing function of the standing desk twice? I had a couple of intense VR sessions from Gun whipSure, but the stamina wasn’t there and I’m not sure if I should play it through Half-life: Alyx I’ve ever seen myself work up a sweat. Heck, I used an automatic tire inflator the only time I went to the park on my bike to test a great new phone holder. I must have raked all the leaves in the backyard twice. But, if I’m telling the truth, I probably burned more calories breaking down a mountain of Amazon cardboard boxes than any other activity this year.
There was a good reason I didn’t feel as motivated: after years of failed dieting, I eventually lost some weight while there. Using a Wi-Fi-equipped smart scale and the MyFitnessPal app, I mentally berated myself for weighing and logging calories almost every day for several months and limited myself to 1,600 a day. I’ve lost 25 pounds and I don’t get so hungry anymore! Imagine if I had trained too. – – Sean Hollister