The future is now when it comes to artificial intelligence making our lives easier and more connected. Smart technology is monitoring our homes’ security, helping us drive and has become more prevalent in appliances like washers, dryers and refrigerators in recent years.
It only makes sense that a spike in home exercise due to the pandemic would increase our engagement with health-related smart devices.
From telehealth visits to wearable activity trackers and smart home health equipment, technology can help you stay on top of your health, monitoring daily activities, workout regimens, vital signs, sleep cycles and nutrition.
Discover how different health and fitness apps and devices are being used today and how you can make them part of your life.
Telehealth and Virtual Visits
As doctors’ offices became less accessible and Americans’ fears about going to the doctor increased due to the pandemic, technology made it possible to see a medical professional from the safety of home via virtual visits.
From January through March of 2020, the number of telehealth visits increased by 50%, with a 154% increase during the last week of March, compared to the same period in 2019. 93% of these visits were for non-COVID-19-related conditions, and “most telehealth encounters were for adults aged 18–49 years,” according to a report by the CDC.
If those who utilized virtual health visits appreciate the increased access to healthcare and more immediate response efforts, telehealth could be here to stay.
Normalizing digital healthcare offers many positive, long-term benefits. “Continuing telehealth policy changes and regulatory waivers might provide increased access to acute, chronic, primary and specialty care during and after the pandemic,” according to the report.
Wearable Health and Fitness Trackers
While working from home and curbing social activities can help lower your risk of contracting COVID-19, too much time being stationary can be harmful to your health.
Make sure you’re keeping your heart pumping, burning enough calories, managing your stress and getting enough sleep with a fitness tracker or smartwatch.
The Apple Watch Series 6 tracks your daily activity, measuring blood oxygen levels and recording calories burned, minutes of brisk activity and how many times you’ve stood and moved for at least one minute per hour.
On Mondays, you’ll receive reports on the previous week’s achievements. The watch will also suggest goals for the upcoming week based on your progress.
For more insights, download the Fitness app on your iPhone. This will let you see trends and any fitness awards (personal records, streaks and major milestones) you’ve won.
The Fitbit Sense focuses on stress, suggesting changes to your activity, sleep and mindfulness practices to help relieve anxiety. A sensor helps monitor your body’s response to stress, and the Fitbit app will give you a stress management score.
Heart rate monitors and motion detectors help Fitbit track your sleep. Use the app to get your sleep score and see the time you spent in light, deep and REM sleep. The ‘smart wake’ function wakes you at the optimal moment in your sleep cycle while silent alarms allow for less distressing mornings.
Samsung Galaxy Fit
The slim Samsung Galaxy Fit counts your daily steps, calories burned and water and caffeine intake. It also monitors your sleep patterns (REM cycles, total sleep time, etc.) and your heart rate, alerting you of abnormal highs or lows.
Users appreciate the device’s long battery life (the Galaxy Fit2 can go up to 15 days on a single charge), but a con to consider is that it requires the use of two apps: the Galaxy Fit app and the Samsung Health app.
The Garmin Vivosmart is a fitness tracker that connects to compatible smartphone’s GPS for accurate tracking while the Garmin Vivoactive comes with built-in GPS. Both make a nice choice for anyone who likes to exercise outdoors. (The Apple Watch and some Fitbit devices have built-in GPS trackers, too. The Samsung Galaxy Fit does not.)
The Vivosmart 4 also features wrist-based heart rate monitoring, allowing it to track your energy level, sleep and gauge blood oxygen saturation. It also does all-day stress tracking and uses a “relax reminder” breathing timer to help you calm down.
Health and Fitness Apps and Platforms
Apps are arguably the most accessible form of fitness technology.
Some of the most popular health and fitness apps from last year include Nike Training Club, where premium content is free during the pandemic, and Under Armour’s Map My Fitness, which records any type of activity you do and is compatible with certain wearable fitness trackers.
Other favorite health and fitness apps include FitOn for workouts from celebrity trainers, Forte.fit for live-streamed and on-demand boutique fitness classes, Keelo for high-intensity workouts and Shred for working out with friends.
For those short on time, there’s the Johnson & Johnson Official 7 Minute Workout, which has been downloaded over 3 million times.
An exciting development on the smart home health care front is the ability to access health, fitness and wellness content through your smart TV. Companies like Samsung and Google are two prime examples.
Samsung Health is a platform available on select Samsung smart TVs. It offers fitness classes, challenges and wellness activities for the whole family. Similarly, Google Chromecast allows you to project certain fitness apps (like Nike Training, Adidas Training and Sworkit) from a device onto your TV.
Smart Home Gym Equipment
Smart fitness machines can cost a pretty penny, but the investment could be worth it if you’re looking for a way to meet your fitness needs at home.
Peloton bikes and treads provide access to thousands of Peloton classes. Energetic instructors and a growing Peloton community mean you can exercise with others live and on demand. You’ll earn badges for completing goals while the equipment tracks your heart rate, resistance, cadence and output. You can also link your Apple Music or Spotify account to stay motivated with your favorite tunes.
The Tempo Studio is a great option for weightlifting enthusiasts. This easel-shaped device provides AI guidance and real-time feedback on your form. It offers hundreds of classes and live group sessions while tracking your progress. What’s more, the weights are included.
For fans of kickboxing, there’s the FightCamp Gym. Elite trainers keep you motivated while punch trackers measure your hits and deliver real-time stats. From 15-minute high-intensity interval training to hourlong sessions, there’s a variety of workouts to choose from.
One of the most futuristic-looking smart health devices, Mirror boasts a sleek, modern look that doesn’t take up a lot of space. It offers a variety of workout types (boxing, kettlebell workouts, tai chi, yoga, etc.), including five to 60-minute live and on-demand classes at different experience levels. Instructors give demos and you can watch your reflection to perfect your form. Mirror also comes with a wall mount and stand, heart rate monitor and resistance bands.
Here’s another wall-mounted system. Tonal is an all-in-one tool for strength training. Start with a fitness assessment, choose your goals and Tonal will recommend workouts and weight amounts. Coaches guide you through exercises while Tonal’s electromagnetic arms offer up to 200 pounds of resistance.
NordicTrack’s Commercial 2950 Treadmill and RW900 Rowing Machine come with 22-inch HD smart touch screens. With the treadmill, you can access live workouts, see leaderboards and text your trainer with questions in
real-time. The rower lets you follow world-class instructors around the globe and get recommended workouts and resistance numbers while tracking your stats.
With iFit you can hop off your machine (tilt the screen on the rower) and participate in strength training workouts or wellness activities.
With such a wide variety of options, there really is something for everyone when it comes to getting fit. What’s more, AI can help make sure you’re working out safely while meeting your goals.
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