Using Modern, Tech-Enhanced Equipment, You Can Work Out Conveniently and Safely

Healthy Living Spring 2022
(Kawee -

Whether you’re staying safer at home or just want to maximize your time, it’s easier than ever to achieve fitness goals without leaving the house thanks to smart technology. That means you may never have to trudge to a gym again!

Connected to the internet, a new wave of in-home exercise equipment means that anyone can get a workout in 24/7 without the hassles of traveling on busy roads for a group class or a faraway gym.

And the best part? Connected fitness devices allow you to work out with family and friends doing the same routines or virtual classes, and maybe even challenge them to see who can run, bike, or row the fastest.

“Distance” running at home: Treadmills have come a long way since New Jersey mechanical engineer and avid jogger William Staub invented the first commercial treadmill in 1969. The “dumb” machines of the past have given way to increasingly high-tech smart treadmills that feature Wi-Fi connectivity, high-definition touch screens, Bluetooth-enabled speakers, and even fans that provide a cool breeze and automatically blow harder when you run faster.

Although it varies from maker to maker, treadmills can be set for running speeds of anywhere from one to 12 miles per hour, and inclines ranging from a slight downhill or dead flat to a 15% grade.

The display screen records personalized workout stats like speed, time, distance, calories burned, and pulse rate (BPM). Some treadmills are now equipped with virtual mapping software that allows you to run (virtually) anywhere on the planet - a beach on Maui, through Central Park in New York, along the canals of Venice, wherever. For those who want to prepare for real-life climbing or hiking experiences, a special breed called the incline treadmill can be adjusted to a 40% uphill slope or 6% decline.

Two wheels, one location: Another well-known exercise machine is the stationary or studio exercise bicycle. Top-shelf spinning bikes come with high-definition touch screens that can range up to 27 inches and rotate or tilt when you hop off the bike for a virtual yoga class or hand weight reps. They offer thousands of on-demand virtual workouts available around the clock, as well as the possibility of daily live studio classes led by professional instructors for users who subscribe to monthly memberships.

Some connected bikes can be set to virtual inclines ranging from 10% downhill to 20% uphill, and some automatically adjust the incline depending on the virtual terrain that you’re biking through on the screen. Some even feature cameras so that you can “ride along” with family, friends, or neighbors during your in-home cycle.

Many smart bikes also come with real-world bicycling features like pedal clips to keep your feet in place and water bottle brackets.

Row your boat - no water required: The ancient Athenians created stationary rowing machines to train sailors on how to oar their trireme warships. But those simple wooden contraptions were nothing like today’s connected rowers. Like treadmills and bikes, connected rowing machines feature large touchscreens, on-demand and live streaming workouts, stat trackers, and sophisticated speakers.

The rowing machine equivalent of incline is resistance - how hard you need to pull the row bar to advance along a virtual watercourse. The better ones allow you to adjust resistance from a fairly casual row to Olympic-racing level.

Rowers have three distinct advantages over bikes and treadmills: They give you a full-body workout and not just your legs; they can be much less expensive; and because they’re they’re lighter and modular, they can be upturned and stored vertically in a closet. Even more virtual fitness: The amount and variety of connected fitness machines continue to increase. Among the latest arrivals are smart mirrors or vaults - large, vertical, high-definition screens that show on-demand or live workouts and workout stats while you perform yoga, weight training, etc. on an adjacent mat. Some are freestanding, others you lean against or mount on a wall.

Smart boxing systems feature sensor-filled gloves and a punching bags linked to an app that can display your pugilistic performance on a home TV or computer screen. There are also smart pulley systems for weight and resistance workouts, smart climbers that mimic scaling stairs or vertical terrain, and smart kettlebells and dumbbells with connected workouts and adjustable weights. All are ready and available to be delivered to your home and start you on a wellness and workout journey.

-Joe Yogerst