With most gyms now closed due to the Covid-19 outbreak, it can be more difficult to get a good workout in. It can be especially difficult if you’re the type of person that thrives on group exercise classes right now. Still, there are some ways to use smart devices and services to help keep you moving.
Here are a handful of options worth considering, starting out with free or inexpensive choices and ranging to more costly options if you feel like helping the economy by spending a little more.
- Got a smart wearable device? Wear it! This sounds silly but I hear from so many folks that buy some type of health tracking device, use it for a few weeks and then let it collect dust. I say put it back on if you’re in that camp because any health metrics you can track and measure over time could be useful in a worst-case illness situation. I mainly wear an Apple Watch for exercise, step, and heart rate monitoring but I’m considering a switch over to my Garmin Forerunner 245, which adds a pulse oximeter to the mix.
- Use video conferencing tools for “group” workouts. I know many folks exercise with others, which helps keep them on task but that’s not an option right now. There’s no reason you can’t schedule workout times with your exercise buddies and do activities together in a virtual setting using Duo, FaceTime, Hangouts, Skype or some other video chat app.
- Look to smart apps for guidance. Most every wearable device maker has an app or web service to track health and workout data, so don’t skip using them. Although the Apple Watch and its Workouts app is better than nothing, I actually prefer the free Garmin Connect software that works with my Forerunner. Not only can it share data to Apple Health, but it provides actionable insights based on workout data.. Based on prior workout metrics and sleep data Connect suggests when I should do a harder or an easier workout, for example, with its “Body Battery” function. The software also adjusts my daily step count goal to keep pushing me forward as needed.
- Try Peloton Digital. When you hear the word Peloton, you probably think of the smart stationary cycle that costs several thousand dollars. You’d be right. But don’t overlook the Peloton Digital service that offers the same live and recorded workouts that Peloton bike owners use. You can get a free trial for 90 days right now and, if you like the service, continue for $12.99 a month. You’ll get classes for strength training, cycling, running, walking, yoga and even meditation. I used this service in the past and found it well worth the price.
- Consider Nike’s premium services. The Nike Run Club and Nike Training Club are free to use for basic workouts and guidance and are worth a look. If you like what you see and want more workouts, nutritional guidance and custom programs from trainers, you can pay $14.99 a month or $119.99 a year, for the premium package. Stacey tried the premium version of Nike Training Club and found the workouts a bit more varied. It’s also easy to sign up and quit if you want to mix things up.
- Kettlebells are now smart. Maybe you don’t have any strength training gear yet but want to start small. JaxJox offers its smart kettlebell system for $229. With a single kettlebell, you can adjust the weight between 12lbs, 18lbs, 24lbs, 36lbs, and 42lbs. These also have smart sensors for tracking use: a gyroscope, accelerometer, and 6-axis MEMS. Using the Bluetooth connected app, you’ll get workouts and workout data.
- Dumbbells are less dumb. Similar to the smart kettlebell, Bowflex has an adjustable dumbbell set. The MSRP is $549 but I’ve found them online for $70 less than that. These have a connected mobile app as well to capture sensor data for weight, reps, and sets, plus there are 30 workouts to choose from. This single set of dumbells can be adjusted in weight from 5 to 60 pounds each. Stacey has the “dumb” version and loves them, although it can be a bit of a chore to line up the dial that lets you change the weights. Thankfully, if you don’t get it lined up, you can’t lift the weights.
- Feel like splurging? For an all-around exercise program and machine, the $1,495 Mirror brings smarts to your home workout. Yes, it looks like a mirror, but shows personalized coaching and exercise instruction from a certified training. It also uses AI to recommend changes in your routine, has online classes, and can read your heart rate from a Bluetooth wearable if you have one. There are 70 new classes each week but to get those, be prepared to pony up $39 a month. Hey, at least you can synchronize and hear your favorite Spotify playlist on the Mirror at no extra charge.