With new state-of-the-art technology creating a positive impact on every aspect of our life, it follows that it can benefit our fitness workouts and training too. In fact, there are a number of new, purpose-built tech gadgets on the market that will improve everyone’s motivation to exercise.
Today’s technology – such as activity trackers, GPS watches, Smartphones, smart soles and apps – has come a long way since the days of the early training aids. It’s almost two decades since one of the first technical training aids, the Garmin Forerunner 101, was launched at the turn of the millennium.
Training has developed at a rapid pace in the 21st century, with athletes now able to monitor everything from their pace and distance to their heart rate. The boom in social media has also encouraged more people to keep fit, as they can share their ideas and experiences with millions of fellow fitness fans across the globe.
Social media feeds provide ideas, inspiration and motivation, as everyone can read the blogs, see photos, watch videos and learn about new exercise routines and technology via many channels, such as YouTube and Instagram. The UK Run Chat, an online running community, enables fitness fans of all ages and abilities to chat to like-minded people and ask questions about everything related to running.
Similarly, Strava is a mobile app known as the Social Network for Athletes. It tracks athletic activity via sat nav, using the GPS of mobile phones or devices such as Garmin navigators to record data, including the user’s position and time during fitness activities.
Strava is also a social networking site, where the users can “follow” each other. Activities are automatically grouped together when they’re happening at the same time and place, such as people taking part in a marathon or cycle race. Site users can comment on each other’s’ activities and give “kudos” – the equivalent of a Facebook “like” – and upload photos.
Sites such as Strava and UK Run Chat make training more competitive and add the extra social element, giving fitness a positive twist and providing users with an extra incentive.
In terms of tech, modern GPS watches and fitness trackers also have heart rate reading functions and can track statistics, such as the distance you’ve travelled, your pace or where you are on your route. As technology advances, the features grow and improve, making the devices increasingly interesting.
The latest TomTom Runner watch has a map on display as you run, so if you stray off your route or get lost, it can even guide you home. You can pre-programme in a specific route from your computer.
Even your shoes are becoming smarter! Smart soles provide a tracking device on an insole that fits into any shoe. It contains a small GPS tracking element with a rechargeable battery that will normally last two to three days. It tracks your movement when you’re running, walking or standing, helping you to increase your physical activities by monitoring how much you’re on the move – data is transmitted wirelessly to your smartphone.
The latest trend is virtual running – there are numerous websites enabling athletes to participate. You can run, jog or walk a virtual race anywhere you choose, whether it’s in the street, on a trail, on the track or even on a treadmill.
Participants can run their own race, at their own pace, timing it while they complete a 5K, 10K, half marathon or any distance they choose. Then, participants receive a medal for completing a race, after paying a small entrance fee. You can plot the distance and run alone, or with a group of running buddies. This introduces a more competitive element and makes running more enjoyable, especially if you’ve been lacking in the motivation department!
By keeping online running diaries, writing blogs or uploading your data to a running app, training can be so much easier and way more fun. This is an exciting time to be training, as the new tech on the market is incredible. Boosting motivation and making it more enjoyable, it will also point us in the right direction.
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