Finding it tough to stay motivated now that we're into the colder months? 2017's newest Fitness tech might be the answer you're looking for...
When the days get dark and the temperature plummets, it becomes harder than ever to stick to your fitness goals. It’s a fact of life. But in a world of smart trackers, digital coaches and addictive statistics, there’s no need to settle for the sofa this winter.
If you’re looking for ways to stay active and stay in shape of the colder months, we’ve got you covered. We’ve been chatting with Wareable.com’s Michael Sawh to find out how the latest in fitness tech can help motivate you through to January and beyond…
Bespoke coaching, smarter tracking
“Coaching is the big trend at the moment,” Michael tells us. A keen runner himself, he’s witnessed the fitness tech industry grow and change a lot over the last few years, and explains that 2017’s seen the start of a definite slant towards a more personal approach:
“Things are now very much about guiding and helping people now, and that filters right down to small details like the voice that you hear within new apps and products – AI coaches are starting to seem more personal and motivational these days, and less robotic. Even the ones coming from smaller companies.
“I think a lot of products in the first wave of running and fitness wearables were aimed at professionals,” he tells us, “whereas now the companies behind them are realising that we’re all at different levels. So there’s a new, deeper kind of coaching element to newer products, alongside ways to help people make sense of all their data.”
“Things are now very much about guiding and helping people now, and that filters right down to small details like the voice that you hear within new apps and products.”
And, as Michael sees it, that’s a big trend that we’ll see more of in 2018. “Making sense of data – whether that’s scaling some of it back or just by helping people better understand what it all means – will be really important.
“There’s also going to be a bigger push into ‘health’ rather than just fitness. The big guns in the market are working on showing people how health and fitness can affect your overall wellbeing – including everything from water intake to mindfulness and stress tracking.
“It’s exciting stuff. It means that wearables are opening up to a whole new audience who not only want to track data, but the right kind of data.”
2017’s best fitness tech
Looking for something to help you get out there and get active? We asked Michael for some of his favourite fitness tech products from the last few months…
Lumo Run | £90
“Lumo Run is a small clip-on wearable designed for running, which you can put on the back of any running shorts, and an app that runs on your phone. It coaches you in real time, giving you insightful tips during the run to help you fix your form. It’s all about how posture and form affect your running style and speed, and I’ve found it really, really effective in helping level up my running.”
LifeBEAM Vi | £234
“Vi is a pair of Bluetooth headphones that wrap around the neck and coach you as you go. They use AI to produce a bespoke training programme, which is really good for the ‘Couch to 5k’ demographic, and a good way to get some help without feeling overwhelmed by some of running’s more esoteric metrics.”
Hykeso Punch Trackers | £180
“Boxing’s becoming quite a big deal at the moment, so there are now a couple of companies creating smart products for that. Hykeso’s offering is a pair of sensors that you put into the wraps under your gloves, and they measure things like punch count, speed and power.”
Moov HR | £75
“Earlier this year Moov released a smart headband with a small BPM sensor built in. The idea is that you can get a much more accurate heart rate reading from your temple than you can your wrist, which makes this great for advanced HIIT (High Intensity Interval) training. I’ve used it, and it seems even more accurate to me than some chest-based sensors. It’s also got some nice coaching programmes that let you know when you’re not working hard enough.”
Fitness tips: How to stay motivated in winter
Having the right tech is definitely a great way to help you get out there, but – as Michael explains – staying fit during the colder months isn’t just a matter of pounding the pavement:
“It’s tough,” he says. “It gets colder and nobody wants to go out and run or head to the gym. So I think a key thing is to explore what these apps and wearables can do for you at home. The Moov headband I talked about, for instance, is made with working out at home in mind, while a lot of other wearables now come with inactivity alarms, giving you a nudge to get you moving every hour or so.
“The Apple Watch has its Activity Rings, for example, which is a great implementation of this idea because ‘closing’ those rings each day becomes very addictive.
“Sharing information within your app or product’s community, rather than on Facebook, is also helpful when it comes to sticking at it,” he adds. “Apps like Strava are really good at this, where there’s a big community built around people’s achievements, but because it’s like-minded people it comes across as motivational rather than boastful.
“It’s those little things in your apps and wearables that can just remind you to keep on top of things,” he says in closing. “Everyone’s going to eat and drink more over this period of time, but if you just stay switched on to those little reminders and notifications, they can make a world of difference.”