8 Smart Workout Gadgets That Will Keep You Accountable
Think of them as your personal robo-trainers.
It can be so hard to stay enthused about fitness, especially when gyms are closed and you’re getting burned out with all the workout apps and videos you downloaded in March. If you feel yourself slacking off, it may be worth putting in a little more investment to stay motivated and off the couch. “Accountability is key when it comes to working out,” says Monica Jones, performance and nutrition coach in Washington, D.C. “It's a huge factor in helping people show up. Tech can absolutely help. Push notifications can remind us to work out, hit specific goals, check in with the status of our daily goals, and acknowledge overall progress.”
Research backs up this ethos: a recent study showed that about two-thirds of participants who use physical activity trackers like Fitbit and Apple Watch increased their exercise habits and exercised at least three days a week. What’s more, they also upped their step count and exercise vigor overall.
Unsure where to start? Think of these smart workout gadgets as your robotic personal trainers that nudge you to strive for new goals, reward your hard work, and even tell you when to chill.
You can’t manage what you can’t measure. WHOOP is not your typical exercise tracker—it calculates how much strain you put on the body every day, as opposed to only zeroing in on individual metrics like calories, distance, or hours of sleep. The waterproof high-knit strap monitors how your heart rate is affected by everything—from running a 5K to downing five glasses of wine—then presents you with a comprehensive recovery score each morning so you know how to tackle the new day. What’s more, it measures your respiratory rate with such precision that you might see changes in your breathing pattern before you realize you’re feeling off—something we could all use during this pandemic.
Research shows that jumping rope for 10 minutes a day over the course of six weeks is as efficient as 30 minutes of jogging when it comes to cardio benefits. It’s also excellent for fine-tuning balance, both physically and mentally; cortisol levels are said to drop after jumping rope. With the SmartRope Rookie and app, you’ll actually stick to your new jumping routine as it stores 1,000 sets of data, automatically records jump count and calories, and helps you with interval training. And thanks to easily adjustable straps, your whole family can hop on board.
We all know staying hydrated throughout the day is important, but drinking water is all too easy to forget. That forgetfulness can lead to fatigue and lack of motivation to stay active in the first place. The HidrateSpark smart water bottle syncs to the app and alerts you when you need to take a sip based on a special equation that implements your age, height, weight, exercise, and even elevation. The bottle lights up and the app sends you notifications to make sure you stay on track. Another major bonus: The app helps find your bottle with the Find My Bottle feature should you ever misplace it.
No CrossFit classes, no problem. A 2019 Journal of Human Kinetics study showed that kettlebell training is more than a strength training tool; it helps improve cardio function in as little as 20 minutes a day, when done three to four times a week for six weeks. Set up your own routine with this kettlebell and app duo. The six-in-one digital adjustable JaxJox Kettlebell Connect 2.0 ranges in weight so you can increase resistance from 12 to 42 pounds in seconds. As you follow the unlimited on-demand class coaching, the app tracks your performance in real time, tracking every weight, rep, and set. You’ll see your progress via the FitnessIQ score that uses algorithms to calculate all the metrics.
You’ve got no excuse to skip a workout thanks to Activ5’s five-minute isometric system (said to be less tiring than traditional workouts, but super for your joints). You can work out literally anywhere, even while sitting at your desk or in your car as you wait for grocery pickup. Over 100 game-like app exercises allow you to build strength without having to break into a sweat. Activ5 works with Apple Health and Apple Watch so you can track your activity and energy output as well.
Yes, physical activity is good for you, but it’s just as important to keep your psyche fit to prevent burnout. With the Leaf Chakra necklace, which converts to a brooch-like clip, you can do just that. The smart jewelry works with the Bellabeat app to help you stay on track with your meditation, breathing, sleep, and stress thanks to 30 different meditation and breathing exercises. Not only will the app let you know when your headspace is fuzzy, it even tracks your menstrual cycle and works as a silent alarm through gentle vibration so you can start the day without wanting to destroy your phone.
You know how you wear yoga pants all day in hopes of working out (no, just me)? Well, these yoga pants will actually make you do that, thanks to a high-tech vibration system that activates as you flow through a practice. Sensors are placed around the hips, knees, and ankles—you’ll definitely sense that personal instructor aura as vibrations help with alignment. The best part: these techy pants are just fine going through a gentle wash and dry cycle.
Regardless of whether you’ve been biking for years or started cycling as a pandemic hobby, bike helmet safety is a must. This one is certainly a covetable item, with its car-like features that keep you visible on the road. It syncs with your Apple Watch (or included Lumos Remote buttons) to track activity, show turn signals, and allows for rear light flashing so cars can see when you’re coming to a hard stop.