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Tech tips to stay fit from home

Staying active from home becomes far easier with the right set of gadgets and apps, writes BRYAN TURNER

The at-home fitness market is massive, and there are some tried and tested players in the market to facilitate working out for different routines.

One of the vital tools to improve a fitness routine is a fitness tracker. This could be an activity tracker (like the Fitbit Charge) or a smartwatch (like the Apple Watch). Which is the best one? It depends what one wants to do with it. For example, Garmin is most suitable for those preparing to run the Comrades, while Apple/Fitbit are most suitable for those who want a social workout experience.

Staying on a fitness journey is the goal, and social experiences can help. It’s important to choose the tracker that most of your fitness-focused friends use, so you can form part of their ecosystem. In my case, I chose Apple Watch because the majority of my friends use it.

Those who want a R999 activity tracker (with a healthy catch) can apply to Discovery’s Vitality Active Rewards programme. It’s a 24-month contract (with a R999 activation fee) where if one reaches Discovery’s prescribed goals for the month, they’ll pay 1/24th of the tracker. If one misses the month’s goals completely, they will pay 1/24th. No better motivation to get moving than that.

There are communities to join for free for those not wanting a fitness tracker yet. Runners can join their local Parkrun or MyRun Facebook groups to see their pictures and make friends. Yoga beginners can use the Insight Timer app to make friends, based on the type of yoga they want to practice.

Some apps may need fitness trackers but most only need one’s smartphone. Runners have Strava, Under Armour’s MapMyRun, or their tracker’s built-in functionality. Yoga beginners may want to start with an app like Insight Timer, or search on YouTube with the following format: “duration goal exercise” (e.g. 10-minute bedtime yoga). This applies to other workouts like “45 minute HIIT workout” or “30-minute hip hop dance tutorial”. One can get a more complete set of workout routines from services like Fitbit Premium.

Now comes the danger zone: There are apps out there that may overcharge and underdeliver. Be careful of apps that quote monthly and charge yearly – this is usually in the fine print and that is a huge red flag. Most reputable apps will have a free trial, which allows one to assess the catalogue’s suitability to their workout intentions and goals.

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