Working out isn’t always fun. Sometimes it can be downright boring. But if you throw one or two gadgets into the mix, getting exercise can become something you actually look forward to.
What causes boredom in the gym? Well, the first thing might be that you’re at the gym in the first place. The human mind likes to be challenged with new surroundings and activities each day, and plodding away on the same treadmill, in the same gym, can get old very fast.
So, while the following gadgets can help you enhance your workouts so they’re a lot more fun, I highly suggest combining them with some other activity outside of the gym; something you’ll look forward to doing every single day.
One of the best investments I ever made to help boost my desire to work out was a pair of Jabra Bluetooth sports headphones.
I’ve always had wired headphones my whole life, but experiencing running, biking or hiking while listening to music, without any dangling cord to get in your way, is a whole new experience.
You don’t have to go with Jabra. There are actually lots of really great Bluetooth sports headphone brands out there. I chose my brand based on the fit of the earbuds, the fact that it wraps around the outside of my ear, and of course positive reviews from buyers. Do your research and choose a pair that are perfect for you.
Here are some of the ways a Bluetooth headset can boost your workout:
- Listen to motivational podcasts during your long-distance hike.
- Listen to inspiring music during your daily morning jog.
- Listen to hard-hitting music while you’re pumping iron at the gym.
- iTunes offers a whole library of Yoga and other exercise podcasts to get you moving right at home.
It’s the freedom of movement without wires that makes Bluetooth headphones so valuable for boosting your workout. Just link it up with one of your favorite smartphone apps like iTunes, Google Music, Pandora, Spotify or more — and get moving!
Sometimes you may be doing an activity with a group of people and don’t really want to be walking along isolating yourself from everyone with headphones on. That’s where the power of a Bluetooth speaker comes in.
Like a pair of Bluetooth headphones, a Bluetooth speaker is free of all wires and cords. All you have to do is charge it up before your activity, and Bluetooth speakers can offer hours of awesome music to boost your workout.
My own personal favorite is the G-POP wireless travel speaker, because it’s fairly rugged and has a useful clip that I can hook a carabiner clip to and fasten it to my hiking backpack.
You could go with any of the great wireless Bluetooth speakers on the market, but if you plan to use these during outdoor activities like hiking, biking, walking or kayaking then you really want to buy one that’s built for the outdoors. Remember, it isn’t always nice and sunny outdoors — rain can dampen the device, tree branches can scratch it, and plenty of other things will bump into it.
Buy a rugged one so you don’t have to keep buying a new one!
Here are some of the ways that a bluetooth speaker can boost your workouts:
- Strap the speaker to your backpack to share your music with hiking buddies while you all walk the trail together.
- Prop the speaker on a rock during your camping trip for entertainment at camp.
- Stow the speaker inside your kayak and enjoy some tunes while you’re paddling down the river.
- Do some aerobics at home by connecting your phone to your speaker and playing high-tempo music to dance to!
Bluetooth speakers are one of those gadgets that you won’t realize how much you needed until you actually have one. Once you do, you’ll wonder how you lived without them!
The maturing of the GPS gadget market has been such an amazing thing. I remember being so excited about those old handheld Garmin GPS receivers you could use to find your way around the most remote locations in the forest. They were rugged and had a black and grey LCD screen with a big fat arrow showing your location and direction.
How times have changed!
Now GPS come in many form factors. The handheld units feature much more today than they ever did before — things like altitude, humidity and temperature, and of course your coordinates. There are also really cool logging features where you can map your progress in real-time without having to even think about it.
And even if you don’t have a dedicated GPS device, nearly every single smartphone on the market today has GPS capability, and can do just as much if not more than many GPS hand-held devices on the market. The batteries may not last quite as long, but that’s what portable smartphone chargers are for!
Hand-held GPS is great for hiking or walking, but you probably don’t want to be hanging onto some device while you’re jogging down the street. That’s why the latest generation GPS watches are so cool.
They can also track and map your progress and offer most of the features that the larger GPS devices do. How cool is it that you can get a full map with a traced route of your hike or run, without having to do anything at all except press the start button? Tracking distance and the progress of your fitness has never been easier.
Here are a few of the many ways GPS devices help with boosting your fitness activities:
- Track your running routes and overall time without having to constantly check your watch.
- Map out the total distance and altitude gain of your mountain hikes.
- Never get lost again while biking long distances.
- Riding an ATV or a snowmobile is much more fun when you can explore the wilderness without worrying about getting lost.
The beauty of GPS is that unlike cellular, it’s a free service. You can buy GPS enabled devices and they just work, even in some of the most remote locations on the planet, thanks to the many GPS satellites orbiting the Earth at any given time.
What about Fitbit?
When the Fitbit first came out, I really thought it would be nothing more than a silly fitness fad. People would get tired of having this device on their wrist all day, especially considering that the cheaper models don’t even come with a time display, just a silly set of lights!
Boy was I wrong.
I see the Fitbit everywhere. I’ve got friends and colleagues at work and elsewhere who I spot wearing a Fitbit. I even started wearing the one that I got tired of wearing just over a year ago — after starting to run rekindled my interest in tracking my running distance (Fitbit uses movement rather than GPS to estimate distance, but it’s still fairly accurate).
I’m sure you’ve seen umpteen reviews of various models of Fitbit, so the real question here is; How does a Fitbit make a workout less boring? Lots of ways, actually.
- You can make a game out of maxing out the Fitbit flex 5 lights, or your max step count, as a goal to hit if you want to buy a snack on your way home from the gym.
- Use any measurement as a milestone throughout the day to make getting enough movement into a “game”, with the goal of hitting 4 miles, 120 active minutes, or 10,000 steps by the time you lay down to go to bed.
- Use the distance feature of the Fitbit to log the distance of your hikes or runs, and keep trying to beat your last best record.
With the Fitbit, it all boils down to what you’re measuring, and how you can make use of those measurements to turn getting more activity into something that’s fun and keeps you moving every day.
Exercise Bike with Laptop Desk
In today’s culture, it’s very difficult to make it through even a few hours, without using some sort of screen — whether it’s a laptop, a tablet or a smartphone. The problem with so much screen time is that it’s usually synonymous with sitting. All that sitting is synonymous with…well…getting fat.
It doesn’t have to be that way, and it doesn’t have to be difficult either. One of the best purchases I’ve ever made is buying the FitDesk exercise desk.
I know it sounds like a totally nerdy thing to buy, but the reality is that it allows you to do all of the things that you love to do like browsing Facebook, pinning things on Pinterest, or binge-watching Netflix shows, while also getting in lots of exercise. In fact, you may have so much fun that you might completely forget about the fact that you’re burning calories.
Using an exercise bike might not be your idea of a good time, but trust me, when you combine other activities that you can do with a laptop or tablet with the act of bicycling, it really changes the entire experience.
Here are some things you can do during your bicycling workout that’ll make it a whole lot more fun, and maybe even something you look forward to.
- Schedule time to watch movies you’ve always wanted to see, and get a full 90 to 120 minutes of exercise in!
- Use the desk to hold your Kindle and get in lots of quality reading time.
- Set up your laptop with your favorite game, slip on a headset, and you’ll have so much fun gaming that you’ll completely forget that you’re exercising.
- Prop up your tablet, plug in your headphones, and listen to inspiring motivational videos while you’re powering through your workout.
It sounds counter-intuitive to slap a desk onto an exercise bike — after all working out is supposed to be time away from work, right? Well, if you think about it, many more people choose not to work out at all because they think they don’t have time for it. If they can still work while they exercise, people are much more likely to give it a shot — and get much healthier in the process.
Have you used any of the gadgets listed in this article to help boost your fitness goals? Are there any other gadgets that you’ve found that made exercising more fun? Share your ideas in the comments section and let’s help one another find the joy in fitness.