The gyms may have finally reopened, but after almost a year spent at home our workout routines have changed dramatically.
For some, the gym can be a daunting place full of complicated machines, the possibility to workout in the judgement-free comfort of our own homes during lockdown has been a welcomed adjustment.
This change has paved the way for a new generation of fitness tech and a number of apps to get us fit from home. And that isn’t all, some fitness apps offer more than workouts. Recipes, help with your mental health and organisation features are all included, after all mental fitness is equally important.
Whether you prefer the convenience of a home workout or you need some assistance when it comes to creating a workout routine that works for you, looking for a healthier alternative to your favourite meal or need some guided meditation tips, there are some exceptional fitness and lifestyle apps now on the market that can help.
Remember when we were told we could have an hour of outdoor exercise per day?
Although that rule now seems like a distant memory, during the many lockdowns of the past year we turned to home workouts as a way of staying fit (and sane).
Lockdown saw a significant rise in demand for bespoke, hi-tech workouts and equipment. According to Statsita, during the first quarter of 2020, health and fitness apps were downloaded 593 million times. In the same quarter of the previous year, health and fitness apps were only downloaded 446 million times.
For so many of us, lockdown created the perfect opportunity to exercise more with fewer reasons not to. Without a lengthy commute to work or a number of social events filling up our calendars, the option to stick to a regular workout routine was more practical than ever. It is no surprise that fitness and lifestyle brands saw the perfect opportunity to tap into the digital fitness market.
In early 2020, fitness-apparel giant Lululemon bought a start-up, fitness tech company called Mirror. “The acquisition of Mirror is an exciting opportunity to build on our ‘sweatlife’ vision and enhance our digital and interactive capabilities,” explains Calvin McDonald, Lululemon CEO. “We’re looking forward to learning from and working with Mirror to accelerate the growth of personalised in-home fitness.”
Mirror proves the perfect alternative to a real gym session. It is a two-way interactive mirror that allows you to see yourself training in its reflection while watching a class instructor on screen, bringing professional fitness training directly to your home. When not in use, the mirror looks perfectly at home on the wall with no tell-tale workout equipment on show.
Another popular choice for home fitness buffs is Peloton which saw an unsurprising surge in its membership since it extended its free trial period for the app from 30 to 90 days in March of 2020.
Other favourites include, the Nike Training Club with a number of guided workouts for users at any fitness level and the Fitbit coach which as well as the fairly standard video offering, Fitbit Coach also now offers audio workouts for runs, walks and stair workouts.
If when it comes to fitness, your diet is your top priority there are plenty of apps to help get you on track after one too many lockdown banana breads.
If you’re In need of eating a little healthier or losing a few pounds, in theory, it’s pretty simple to do – eat less and exercise more. In reality, there’s a lot more to it than that. Knowing what food is good for you, and what isn’t is an important part of good nutrition.
Apps such as MyFitnessPal offer a huge food database, listing over 5 million different foods. It is an effective way to track what you’re eating, alongside your daily workouts. It even works in conjunction with over 50 devices and apps including Apple Health, Fitbit and Garmin devices, to stay on top of your day to day fitness.
For a useful on-the-go guide to vegan cooking, try the Deliciously Ella app created by health food guru Ella Woodward. The bestselling app is packed full of the delicious recipes that made Ella’s eponymous blog world famous. The perfect way to give your favourite meals a healthier twist or try something brand new.
As restaurants and cafes open up across the country, the promise of a summer spent eating out looms on the horizon. But if eating out and staying on top of your healthy eating goals fills you with dread, HealthyOut app has you covered. You can filter out anything on the menu that doesn’t satisfy your dietary requirements, whether it’s specific calorie counts for example or heart-healthy choices. With all of the nutrition insights in your pocket, you’re able to order with ease.
Over the past year, taking care of our mental health has been in some ways more important than ever, yet often overlooked when talking about our overall fitness.
Lockdown provided many of us with a much needed break from our busy day to day lives and an opportunity to focus on mindfulness and relaxation when it’s needed. However, as we approach a return to normality some of us may need a helping hand when caring for our mental health during a transition out of lockdown.
What better way than with a handy app and mental exercises that can be done at any time of the day, wherever you may be?
Headspace has long been hailed as the go-to app for mental health. If you suffer from an overcrowded mind, this one’s for you. Headspace acts as your very own mindfulness coach that lives right in your pocket. The app teaches you how to use meditation techniques to focus, de-stress and relax. Requiring as little as ten minutes of commitment a day, this app will make you a master of meditation in no time.
Another favourite is the Moodfit app. It allows you to set a number of customizable daily goals that set the basis of your daily mental health workout. It also offers a mood and gratitude journal, mindfulness meditation and breathing exercises.
If you’re looking for something that focuses on stress relief, Sanvello is the app for you. Building a community through peer support and offering guided therapy and coaching, this app will help ease stress from the comfort of your own home with the option to reach out and speak to others, something many of us have missed over the past year.
So it is clear the online fitness industry has seen a major boom since the COVID-19 outbreak, but is it here to stay?
Many opted for home workouts when there was no other option. For some of us the appeal of a home workout remains and investing in some home workout equipment alongside a handy app, removes the need for a trip to the gym, and so it is fairly clear that the popularity of digital fitness options will continue.
However, with gyms and fitness centres reopening, gym fans are sure to return to their old routines. For so many, the gym is a place to escape and fitness is a major key to positive mental wellbeing with a trip to the gym an essential part of their daily routine.
Paul Javid CEO of Alo Moves says; “With more people aware of the virtual options for maintaining their fitness and wellness, I think people will continue to include online classes and workouts as a part of their overall wellness routine. The key factor here is variety — people want their workouts to work for them, and they enjoy being able to customize their classes to their ever-evolving lifestyle.”
It is evident that lockdown has allowed those who otherwise wouldn’t attend a fitness class or go to the gym have incorporated exercise into their daily routine through the use of online classes and fitness apps.
Although virtual fitness has dominated over the past year, there are few home workouts that can replicate the experience of going to the gym.
It is safe to say that those of us who have counted the days until our next group spin class can now rejoice at the return to workout normality, but the option to download a fitness app whenever we need to remains and may just become a welcomed alternative on the days we’d rather stay at home.
Will you be packing your gym bag or just grabbing your phone?