Whether you’re looking to stay fit, break your sedentary lifestyle or lose weight, playing sports ranks high on your New Year’s resolution list. But as the weeks go by, motivation can wane.
The sports industry increasingly relies on new technologies, in particular connectivity, to provide athletes with personalized training sessions and performance monitoring. bathroom scale, linked watches and bracelets are already known to the general public. But other sports devices are also getting connected. Here is a selection of original solutions to stay motivated.
Reflect my beautiful mirror
In the 1980s, the French did gymnastics in front of their TV with Véronique and Davina. A few decades later, they can do it before an interactive overview that broadcasts the lessons of sports trainers live or on demand, as if they were in the gym. This allows access to more or less long sessions, at any time from home, and to various activities for all levels: cardio, muscle strengthening, boxing, yoga, pilates, zumba, cycling…
After the session is over, the screen disappears to make way for a mirror which can easily find its place in the home. According to the manufacturers of this type of equipment, the mirror has another advantage, as it allows the user to more easily correct his posture while performing exercises.
In addition to monitoring sessions, heart rate, calories burned… to maintain motivation, brands that develop such devices have offered the possibility of launching challenges to other members of the user community.
Run better to go further?
For several years, several manufacturers of sports equipment have developed connected sneakers. If for some, it’s above all a matter of personalization (custom-made automatic bindings and modifiable lighting effects on Nike), others aim more for sports performance. This is the case of Under Armour, for example, whose connected sneakers promise to help runners find the perfect stride and pace while running, in addition to tracking running stats.
If some brands have tried it (including Xiaomi), a few Google searches are enough to understand that at the moment they are more objects of curiosity than precious devices from athletes or specialized retailers, this function is not particularly emphasized.
Connected benches are an alternative for fitness walking and running enthusiasts who want to monitor their performance. The company Digitsole has developed several versions. Its connected heels track much more than the usual walking or running stats (duration, distance covered, calories burned, etc.). The app provides an in-depth analysis by measuring stride length, push-off speed and paying special attention to supports with the idea of avoiding pain or injury.
This can be interesting for people who want to learn and/or go further in the field of active walking or running. Users who practice several sports may be more likely to turn to a more multi-sport oriented sports watch.
Or run inside without getting tired
If some athletes like to run outside, rain, cold or pollution can melt away the motivation like snow in the sun. With a treadmill, there are no more excuses.
Not everyone has the space to install one, but manufacturers are making efforts to make them more compact, possibly foldable, and sometimes connected. Most routines allow you to make adjustments and track parameters such as distance traveled, speed, calories burned and even heart rate. Connectivity provides full monitoring of sessions and offers the possibility of connecting the treadmill to other devices such as a heart rate monitor, but also a smartphone, tablet or smart TV.
The user can thus develop personalized programs to communicate with the device, but above all to fight against monotony. Indeed, these connected models are compatible with applications (such as Kinomap) in which there is outdoor running video captured in all kinds of landscapes, all over the world. While running on the carpet, you can immerse yourself in a mountain atmosphere as if you were there or improvise a run in Central Park, for example. The treadmill can even adjust speed and incline to provide a sense of total immersion.
“When we set out early in the morning, when we hit the road”
If bikes are more your thingthere are attached apartment models or indoor trainers (in which you carry your bike to train indoors).
As for running, thanks to the connection, it is possible to immerse yourself in an ultra-realistic course, participate virtually in a legendary race or even completely customize your training program. Some of these devices even promise to take into account biometric data, goals set, level, power developed and pace to provide a personalized experience. A subscription is sometimes required to take advantage of it.
If you already have an exercise bike or an elliptical trainer, you can immerse yourself in all kinds of atmospheres thanks to virtual reality. The company Fit Immersion develops kits specifically intended for this use, provided with a wireless cadence sensor to be installed on one of the pedals to synchronize the video with the athlete’s pace. The packages include either a virtual reality headset, or a headset into which you can insert a smartphone, or a package intended for owners of a oculus headset.
More specific connected sensors
There are no shortage of examples of connecting sports equipment; paddles, skis, tennis racquets and combat sports punching bags are also on the move.
Alongside these, we are also seeing the development of (more affordable) activity sensors aimed at measuring performance and monitoring progress in some sports such as tennis, football, golf or even horse riding. They measure specific parameters for each of these sports. They sometimes attach to the user’s arm or leg, sometimes directly to the racket or golf club, for example.
Some brands have made connected sports equipment their specialty, such as Hitech Fitness, Echelon or NordicTrack. Elliptical trainers and other related treadmills remain expensive equipment that not all individuals are ready to invest in.
But it is still possible to enjoy it in some modern gyms which tend to be equipped with it. If you want to get back into the sport yourself and track your performance to stay motivated without breaking the bank, you can now start from I give you a smart watch or a linked bracelet, which have the advantage of being versatile. Some of these “clothes” have become relatively accessible and already constitute a good foundation.