Highly efficient workouts using sports gadgets
Everything was supposedly better in the old days. When it comes to sports and working out, everything was certainly harder. It’s reported that Alexander Karelin, three-time Olympic champion in wrestling, trudged through knee-deep Siberian snow with tree trunks on his shoulders. Just as legendary is the “hill of pain” that former soccer coach Felix Magath had built in Wolfsburg for his players to lug medicine balls up and down.
You may think that the success of these slightly archaic methods attests to their effectiveness, but this kind of workout is now outdated. That’s because digitalization has firmly found its way into sports, whether you’re a hobby athlete or a professional. Nowadays, every small detail is recorded and workouts are highly efficient. The array of devices, wearables, and trackers has never been as vast – and is constantly growing. We took a look at what’s currently out there on the market and picked out the eight most interesting sports gadgets.
Sports gadget #1: fitness trackers
Fitness trackers are probably nearly always the first thing people turn to when starting out in digitally powered sports. They are relatively inexpensive, yet versatile allrounders that are worn on the wrist and look like your typical watch at first glance. They measure and record specific bodily functions, the most important parameters being heart rate and cadence.
The better and more expensive the devices, the more measurement options they offer.
For example, sleep stages and stress levels can also be tracked. It is worth noting that trackers nearly always require an end device in order to evaluate the data. The most well-known and most-used brands are Xiaomi, Huawei, Samsung, Fitbit, Nike, and Garmin.
Sports gadget #2: sports watches
While fitness trackers tend to have oblong displays, sports watches look more like a conventional watch. They also have much more sophisticated features. Endurance athletes in particular appreciate their map functions and GPS offering meter precision. In addition to these basic features, sports watches also come with lots of other functions, making it possible to record almost any activity, whether sailing, diving, or golfing. Sports watches are essentially stripped-down smartwatches, since the top-of-the-range models can even receive emails and phone calls. Even so, a large number of models still make a stylish impression. The Apple Watch can assert itself against the competition in many respects, but more professional athletes mainly swear by products from the Garmin and Polar brands.
Sports gadget #3: the digital jump rope
The Internet of Things made its way into everyday life some time ago and even sports equipment is now connected to the World Wide Web. One example is Tangram Factory’s SmartRope, which projects a mid-air display via its embedded LEDs, records the user’s activities, and automatically synchronizes the results with Apple HealthKit, Google Fit, and Under Armour. The jump rope even delivers workout plans – all that’s left to do is jump.
Sports gadget #4: the smart shirt
QUS has developed a smart shirt that integrates the features of a tracker and sports watch. 180 components are built into the garment, which weighs just about a mere 18 grams in total. For approximately 8,000 hours, the shirt is capable of recording the pulse, heart rate variability, respiration rate, calorie consumption, and acceleration of the athlete wearing it.
Sports gadget #5: virtual racing with Zwift
The coronavirus pandemic has further boosted the popularity of indoor sports in the comfort of people’s living rooms. The absolute highlight, though, is Zwift – a virtual world that simply calls to be explored and cycled through. Whether on rollers, a stationary exercise bike, or treadmill, sports enthusiasts from all over the world can meet up on Zwift and cycle or run against each other in real time. Unfortunately, the software comes with a price and you also need a compatible device to connect it to, such as a treadmill, stationary exercise bike, or rollers.
However, Zwift is by no means just a cool tool; the many top-class virtual competitions it has hosted show that it’s also a serious sports gadget.
Sports gadget #6: Gymondo and BEAT81
Strictly speaking, Gymondo and BEAT81 are two different things. However, both of them are action-packed digital fitness centers. Gymondo even goes as far as offering exclusively virtual classes, with instructions given via video. Participants will recognize some of their trainers from the TV or Internet.
Although BEAT81 requires participants to be physically present, it takes an ultra-modern approach with its heart-rate-based interval training. Another thing that both platforms have in common is that they record all the relevant bodily functions and thus work incredibly efficiently.
Sports gadget #7: the smart water bottle LARQ
Yes, there is such a thing as a smart water bottle. The idea behind it: the bottle self-cleans every two hours using UV-C LED technology. The ultraviolet light is intended to kill bacteria that would otherwise cause a sports bottle to smell unpleasant. It’s powered by a USB lithium polymer battery, which is designed to last for up to a month without needing to be charged.
Sports gadget #8: digital massage guns
What you do after a workout is just as important as what you do before it, especially the older you get. For a few years now, massage products have been increasingly gaining ground on the sports gadgets market. And massage guns are in pole position. The effectiveness of pressure and vibration massage on the body’s trigger points has been proven and so it’s no surprise that there are now a whole range of these high-tech massage devices out there. The NOVAFON, which massages using sound waves, is even used and recommended by athletes in the German Athletics Association (DLV).
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