4 digital fitness trends you need to check out

Published On: Jan 28 2013 03:32:17 PM CST   Updated On: Aug 22 2013 02:58:59 PM CDT
Exercise ball

By Tom, Pure Matters

It used to be that when you wanted to get in shape you either strapped on a pair of sneakers and went for a run or got in a car and drove to a place that was packed with people and waited your turn to move around some rusty (and sweaty) weights. But in recent years the explosion of the digital fitness market has made getting fit as easy as clearing a little space in your living room and turning on the television. In the last year or so in particular, we’ve seen things develop so far as to allow your gym to fit your pocket. With mobile apps, the world has become our weight room. It’s never been easier or more fun to exercise and today we’re taking a look at some of the best options that the digital fitness market has to offer.

It’s as Easy as Pressing “Play”

One of the largest markets in digital fitness is home workout videos. These range from cable providers’ “On Demand” yoga workouts to DVD programs like P90x, an incredibly popular 90 day fitness routine that has grossed over $500 million according to NY Daily News. Other options include fitness videos available to purchase on iTunes as well as a whole heap of free videos on YouTube. My only advice is to be weary of what you find on the latter–if only because while legitimate exercise videos made by professionals exist, anyone with a camera can post on YouTube and they may not show proper form.

Aren’t Video Games Just for Kids (…and Couch Potatoes)?

There’s unfortunately a stigma associated with video games as being the play thing of children or couch potatoes, but lately, game developers and new technology developments have made them so much more than a thumb exercise. From the Xbox Kinect, which uses a camera to track and sync your body movements with an avatar on the screen to the Nintendo Wii, that uses an infrared remote sensor to record motion, interactive dance, sports, and fitness games have become a whole new division of the gaming world. Sure, you’ve probably seen those Dance Dance Revolution monstrosities in a local arcade, boardwalk, or shopping mall, but did you know that Xbox’s Dance Central tracks your whole body, burns a ton of calories, and can be done in your living room without a clunky floor mat? Add Nike + Kinect Training, Zumba Fitness, Wii Fit, and Self-Defense Training Camp to the long list of options for both adults and kids to break a sweat.

Wait, you mean my body is the controller?!

Wait, you mean my body is the controller?!

Need further proof that fitness games are a significant “game changer”? An article published last week highlights a study conducted by the George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services called, “Can E-gaming be Useful for Achieving Recommended Levels of Moderate to Vigorous-Intensity Physical Activity in Inner-City Children?” The study found that “E-gaming might be a useful alternative to traditional physical education -- at least for younger school children” and can serve as a major step in the battle against childhood obesity–a problem effecting more than 17 percent of U.S. children.

 Use Your Phone, Duh!

If you’re a regular reader of health and fitness blogs you know that most of them always circle back to one of the best tools anyone can utilize in the battle to lose weight and get in shape–keeping a journal. This could be a food journal, an exercise journal, or even just a catalogue of thoughts and how you’re feeling at points throughout the day. In tracking components of our daily lives we are able to better analyze what works and what doesn’t. It’s a sort of personal optimization to maximize efficiency, but it doesn’t come easy. A lot of people start with a pen and paper and by the third day you’ve likely already forgotten where you placed your notebook. But don’t worry -- with the invention of several smart phone applications and fitness gadgets, things have gotten a lot easier.

Earlier this week, Koren, Pure Matters Director of Customer Experience/Health and Wellness Coach, recommended the Tabata Timer, an app that serves as a Tabata specific stop watch for interval training. It’s just one example of how specific apps have been made for a large mix of different workout routines and styles. But if you’re in the market for something to catalogue your food intake and mixed exercise routines, Map My Run and Livestrong both offer mobile applications that sync up directly with your web based accounts for more thorough account management.

 What About Those Health “Clips” and Wrist Gadgets?

Taking the smartphone app experience one step further are companies like Jawbone, FitBit, and Nike with their Up wristband, FitBit One clip, and Nike + FuelBand respectively. Each of these systems track calories burned, distance traveled, and a few will even tell you how well you’ve slept–though I don’t need an app to explain why I’m groggy some mornings. The whole point behind these devices is twofold–to visualize every aspect of your daily routine and to catalogue your normal behavior. I may sound like a broken record, but when it comes to making improvements, knowledge is power. By micromanaging daily routines, users are able to get a tangible sense of where there time and energy is being used and how they can make changes.

The beauty of digital fitness is how freeing it can be. Whether you’re a homebody or someone always on the road, there’s never been a better time to get in shape without being tied down to a single gym. With the way technology is going, living rooms, drive ways, front stoops, and parks are the gyms of the future. Add to that the element of personalization–tracking your diet, workout routines, sleep quality, and more–and it’s never been so easy to understand what are bodies are capable of and how to improve them.

Source: Pure Matters